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Federal Judge Denies Motion by DeKalb School Board Members

Gov. Deal can now proceed in finding replacements.


U.S. District Judge Richard Story ruled against members of the DeKalb County Board of Education on Monday afternoon, according to Channel 2 Action News.

The six suspended members, Sarah Wood, Jay Cunningham, Nancy Jester, Eugene Walker, Pamela Speaks and Donna Edler, had filed a motion, heard Friday, arguing that Governor Nathan Deal's suspension was unconstitutional.

The judge's ruling allows Deal to proceed with finding new board members.

Deal announced last week that he signed an executive order that accepts the State Board of Education's recommendation that six DeKalb school board members be removed.

Deal has also appointed a nominating committee to recommend new members of the school board.

After a 14-plus-hour meeting, the State Board of Education voted to recommend that Deal remove six members of the DeKalb school board.

However, the school board filed an emergency motion in federal court, hoping to stop the governor from taking any action.

A federal judge then issued a restraining order that prevented the suspension of the members until a hearing that was held this past Friday.

See Also:

Judge Grants Restraining Order Against Suspension of DeKalb School Board

School Board Files Emergency Motion Motion to Stop Possible Suspension

Replay Patch's Live Coverage of the State Board of Education Hearing With the DeKalb School Board

Ann March 04, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Although we need changes with the board members, I don't agree of the removal by Gov. Unreal Deal. My voice, my vote was just taken away. Beside Unreal Deal took his position with scandal. Why was that swept under the rug ?
MrMatt March 04, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Ann - get a grip. Deal didn't make up the removal law overnight. There was a law on the books passed in 2011 that enabled Deal to do this. He is following the law as it stands, whether we all agree with it or not. I happen to think it is on shaky footing, but Deal is not crossing some line by exercising the power the law allows. I don't particularly like Deal either, but that's neither here nor there in this case. Oh, for that matter, the Dekalb board didn't like Deals decision either...so they took the constitutionallity of the law to the Judge. Now the Judge has said it's okay by him. Deal didn't unilaterally act beyond his right...
Enuff Govt Already March 04, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Looks like the fed judge says the district can't challenge the state law allowing their removal with the 14th Amendment & the school system did not suffer a loss since the gov can replace members; rest of the issues are for the state to decide. Interesting line, "the most significant to that of the plaintiffs is the interest of the public. Though the public has an interest in its elected officials being allowed to serve...there is a greater public interest at stake here." Injuction denied and restraining order vacated. This saga sounds like it's only beginning.
RandyRand March 04, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Thanks for the link to the actual order. Well cited, judicial reason presented clearly, balanced and on target. But I am left wondering if several of the DCSB members could actually read or comprehend this order.
HDM March 04, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Good riddance to bad rubbish in the most part.
Steve Skinner March 04, 2013 at 11:23 PM
So because Deal took office under a cloud, we should allow the DeKalb School Board to continue to abuse our children? No thanks. Two different issues. About time somebody put the kids first.
RandyRand March 04, 2013 at 11:43 PM
In the ruling the Federal Court determines that the so called “Kangaroo Court“ is more than an adequate venue for Dr. Eugene Walker and the Dekalb County School Board. Got to love it!
RandyRand March 04, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Federal Court also smacks down the idea of a “political lynching” and rules that SACS provided a report containing specific allegations of conduct that violate applicable standards and polices. And SACS did so in such a way that: “an ordinary person exercising common sense can sufficiently understand” the allegations. Which parts do you think the DCSB is missing?
DeKalb Guy March 05, 2013 at 02:57 AM
And now we will see thousands and thousands of school district dollars spent on appeals.... They aren't going to step aside, this will go on and on. No winners here.
MrMatt March 05, 2013 at 03:13 AM
@justathought No winners for sure, but pretty clear who the incompetent ones are. And continuing to pillage and plunder the already ailing school budget. At what point do their lawsuits have to be carried on their own dime?
Sally March 05, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Hopefully a new school board would not allow that.
Sally March 05, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Someone please tell me they were locked out of the building 15 minutes after this ruling came down.
lastminutemom March 05, 2013 at 01:48 PM
For those of you in McMahan's district, you need to know that his string of bad decisions continues. He just announced on WABE that he disagrees with the Judge's decision. So far, McMahan has gone along with almost every spending initiative that doesn't impact students. At best, he has abstained. No ability to stand up for the students. What a disappointment.
Tom Doolittle March 05, 2013 at 02:10 PM
Its a shame that the fight for constitutional local protections has to rely on this bunch. However, someones got to fight the abuse of the legilsature and executive office. Maybe a more credible association will step up.
Jerome Masters March 05, 2013 at 02:40 PM
Annie what about OUR vote to get rid of the garbage
Jerome Masters March 05, 2013 at 02:48 PM
If left them they would waste money AND your children { thank GOD mine went when t they had a school SYSTEM WINNING
Jerome Masters March 05, 2013 at 02:49 PM
SEE above
Jerome Masters March 05, 2013 at 02:49 PM
15 minutes is way too long
Brokenhaven March 05, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Voting should be reseved for taxpayers since it is THEIR money afterall.
Kevin Madigan (Editor) March 05, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Statement from DeKalb County Board Chair Dr. Melvin Johnson: “I respect the judge's opinion, and appreciate the judge providing an opinion in a timely manner, because time is of the essence. It is essential that we have a governing board capable of meeting the needs of our administration, students, parents and taxpayers. Equally important is having a board in place to work with the administration on ensuring that the district regains full accreditation. I pledge my full and complete cooperation with the panel of citizens Gov. Nathan Deal has identified to select new board members, and I trust they will work expeditiously to ensure we have a governing board capable of addressing the pressing needs of our school system.”
Mary Cannestara March 05, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Thank you for adding Dr. Johnson statement, he certainly expresses a willingness to get DeKalb back on track. He was there when DeKalb led the State! http://edukalb.org/school-board-candidates/81-bios/89-dr-melvin-johnson.html Dr. Melvin Johnson, retired DeKalb County Deputy Superintendent, has more than thirty-seven years of experience in education (positions that include teacher, assistant principal, principal, area superintendent, and deputy superintendent). While serving in system-wide leadership positions for eighteen years, he demonstrated excellent leadership skills and a clear understanding of school governance. During his tenure at the district-wide level, DeKalb County School System was recognized as one of the top performing school districts in Georgia.
Mary Cannestara March 05, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Melvin is an independent thinker who makes data-driven and logical decisions to address essential issues and to solve critical problems. Dr. Edward L. Bouie, an experienced educator in both PreK-12 and higher education, is serving as Chair of Dr. Johnson’s election committee. Dr. Bouie stated, “Dr. Johnson is an outstanding educator who not only supports all children in their educational endeavors, but who also understands the political process that is necessary to develop and implement policies that will help all children rise to their highest levels of achievement.” Since retiring from the DeKalb School District in 2004, Dr. Johnson has served on the Redan Parent Advisory Board, DeKalb Youth Leadership Academy Development Committee and YMCA Academies Board of Directors. Dr. Johnson would like to continue his service to the community in the capacity of District 6 board member. Undergirding his commitment as an aspiring board member is this core value: Restore Excellence to DeKalb Schools: The Time is Now! Dr. Johnson, a native Georgian, earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Fort Valley State College, Masters of Education, Educational Specialist, and Educational Doctorate Degrees from Atlanta University. He is married and the father of four children. Two are college graduates. Two are recent graduates from Redan High School and attending Albany State University and Howard University.
MrMatt March 05, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Mary - not sure what your motives are in pushing the agenda for Dr. Johnson - hopefully not as a "friend and family" member looking to keep or secure a position in the Dekalb system. But I can say that anyone could probably write an equally glowing historical bio for Dr. Walker....I imagine there would be a similarly glowing review for our favorite person at the Palace, Ramona Tyson. Bio's don't tell the story...results tell the story. I certainly hope Dr. Johnson's "18-years in system-wide leadership positions" didn't contribute to Dekalb's decline...but that is a possibility unless you can point to some specific results he achieved. I do hope for the best...but time will tell if Dr. Johnson can lead with a focus on students across the district (not just certain ones), and can keep the focus on the budget. And, since we don't know who will comprise the entire new board...I'm not sure there won't be a better qualified "leader" to take the chairmanship from Dr. Johnson.
Mary Cannestara March 05, 2013 at 06:52 PM
No agenda, just hopeful that Dr. Johnson is able to accomplish his objective to: Restore Excellence to DeKalb Schools: The Time is Now! Let's give him the respect and support he is showing the incoming members, shall we?
Harry Hager March 05, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Good Riddance, Mr. Walker!
Sally March 05, 2013 at 09:00 PM
HUGE disappointment!!! Recall?
Jerome Masters March 05, 2013 at 09:02 PM
If you were in an airplane would you be comfortable with the stupid six at the controls if they were pilots ? If they were financial advisors how much of YOUR money would you give them.Do you think they could turn it around & how much time.We are talking about YOUR kids here Wake up Dr. Phil would give you a STUPID sign.
Jerome Masters March 05, 2013 at 09:07 PM
BTW how much longer do I have to look at the picture of this guy , SAWB
MrMatt March 05, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Ok - and i'm with you on being "hopeful". But unless you've been under a rock the last 10 years, you know that the parents of this district have been asked to "give the new guy/gal respect and time to accomplish their goals", only to be burned time and time again. Surely you can understand the degree of cynicism and doubtfulness...only concrete actions will matter at this point. If Dr. Johnson is going to be admired, along with M.Thurmond, then they should be outlining a list of actions they deem necessary to get moving in the right direction, once a quorum/full board is in place. Things like a Full, Open Records Forensic Audit, shake-up of The Palace in a major meaningful way - no nepotism, smaller size, and ouster of long-term leaders who can only be considered as part of the problem (not the solution) after this long run. That's just a starter. when i hear either or both of them talking like that...then i'll bring out my "hopefulness".
Mary Cannestara March 06, 2013 at 03:50 AM
@MrMatt Fair enough, that all sounds very well thought out and positive.

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