As elected representatives on the DeKalb Board of Education, we find ourselves in a unique and confusing situation. We are the three members of the Board of Education not subject to the State Board of Education’s review process because we joined the DeKalb Board in January 2013, and the State Board’s action concerned the nine board members who held office prior to January 2013. We, along with Superintendent Michael Thurmond, are committed to restoring full accreditation and focusing our efforts on the academic achievement of DeKalb’s 99,000 students and the professional well-being of the people who teach and serve those students, and we pledge to restore making outcomes for children the priority of the DeKalb County School District.
We realize there is a great deal of frustration with the current legal proceedings. However, Judge Richard Story’s order clearly states that his intention is to maintain the “status quo” until at least Friday, March 1, which, in effect, prohibits any action by the DeKalb Board of Education.
As a result of that order, any potential appointees by Governor Nathan Deal cannot take office, and the suspended members cannot participate in any decisions or official Board activity. Under Georgia law, a quorum of at least five members is required for the DeKalb Board of Education to act. With only the three of us authorized to act by virtue of the federal court order, the DeKalb Board of Education will lack a quorum to conduct any business until such time as there is a decision in the legal matter.
We will continue to work with Superintendent Thurmond to focus on our students, the hardworking educators who are with those students every day in our schools, and the parents and families who support them. We will not be satisfied until every decision made by the DeKalb County School District is made on the basis of how it advances our responsibility for student achievement.
Dr. Melvin Johnson