The board members voted 9-0 without comments March 20 to terminate the DeKalb County School District’s status as a plaintiff in the lawsuit former board members filed against the Georgia Board of Education and Gov. Nathan Deal.
The lawsuit, filed in February, challenges a 2011 state law that gives the governor the authority to remove school board members when their school district faces a loss of accreditation.
The DeKalb school district was placed on accreditation probation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the agency that accredits the school district through its parent company, AdvancED. That move triggered a state law granting the governor the authority to remove school board members.
Acting on the recommendation of the Georgia Board of Education, Deal suspended six of the nine members of the DeKalb school board in February and later replaced them.
School board member Marshall Orson, one of the three board members who were not removed, introduced the measure, saying it would result in financial savings for the school district.
U. S. District Court Judge Richard Story has sent the case to the state Supreme Court, stating, “It appears…that this case involves questions of Georgia law that are determinative of the case, but unanswered by controlling precedent of the Supreme Court of Georgia or any other Georgia court.”
In his order, Story asked the Georgia Supreme Court to decide whether the law violates “the Georgia constitutional doctrine that each school system shall be under the management and control of a board of education, the members of which shall be elected as provided by law.”
Story also wants the court to determine whether the “potential removal of school board members…exceed the General Assembly’s authority to enact general laws regarding local school boards of education.”
The DeKalb County school board case has been docketed in the Georgia Supreme Court, which has up to two court terms from the time it’s filed, approximately six months, to make a decision, according to a statement by Jane Hansen, public information officer for the court.