Gov. Deal Suspends Six DeKalb School Board Members

Nancy Jester and Pamela Speaks, who represent several Dunwoody schools, would lose their jobs if the courts rule that Deal's suspension is valid.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday that he is signing an executive order that accepts the State Board of Education's recommendation that six DeKalb school board members be removed.

Deal made the announcement Monday afternoon during a press conference at the state capitol. Board members Marshall Orson, Jim McMahan and Melvin Johnson were spared from Deal's order because they were elected in November and did not take office until January.

Prior to the announcement, Deal huddled with members of the DeKalb legislative delegation for several minutes.

Deal has also appointed a nominating committee to recommend new members of the school board, composed of Keith Mason, a current member of the State Board of Education and who will chair the committee; Jim Bostick, a former member of the state board of education; Sadie Denard, a member of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce; Alicia Phillip, president of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta; and Garry McGiboney, also a member of the state board of education.

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

The board voted unanimously to recommend that Sarah Copelin-Wood, Donna Edler, Eugene Walker, Jay Cunningham, Nancy Jester and Pamela Speaks be removed from the DeKalb school board.

However, in a legal move late Friday afternoon, the school board filed an emergency motion in federal court, hoping to stop the governor from taking any action. Former District 2 board member Don McChesney weighed in an the legal wrangling last week.

Over the weekend, a federal judge issued a restraining order that prevents the suspension of six DeKalb school board officials by Gov. Nathan Deal. The order does not prevent Deal from suspending the school board members, but does prohibit their actual suspension until a hearing is convened on 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

George Wilson February 25, 2013 at 09:20 PM
We need to find a way to remove Deal from office for not extending Medicaid healthcare to 650,000 Georgians and not moving to create jobs in the state of Georgia. Here are eight Good Reasons for Governor Deal and the Republican legislature to Change Mind on expanding Medicaid 1. Cost each Georgia family $1200.00 in higher insurance premiums for the cost of paying for the uninsured 2 Creation of about 70,000 jobs will be lost 3. Potential lose of Doctors in Georgia as they move to other states 4. 650,000 poor Georgians may not have health insurance 5. Hurts Georgia economy by eliminating the economic multiplier effect of 4.5 billion dollars 6. Other Republican Governors are getting on board including Florida and Arizona 7. Makes Georgia less attractive to locate business in 8. Loss of tax revenue through the multiplier effect and jobs Over the next 10 years, Georgia’s modest state investment would be less than a 2 percent bump in total state spending. That investment would return at least $9 in federal funding for each $1 spent by the state. This is really a no brainer from a business and economic viewpoint and we need some smart leadership, contact the Governor office and express your concern.
RandyRand February 25, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Put down the bong George, the money you speak of would have to be borrowed and the principal and interests would ultimately have to come from someplace. Maybe you know or you could point out where this herd of magical gold pooping unicorns live. Or maybe you lack ethics and simply believe that looting our grandkids is ok because you see others doing it. Deal is not the problem it's your implementation of logic that is problem.
Mikki Pitts February 25, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Why is Denard, a Dekalb Chamber member (GeorgiaPower) on the nominating committee? She was part of the chamber's Edukalb group that endorsed some of the same BOE members the Gov. wants to suspend -Edler, Walker and Speaks.
Betsy Parks February 26, 2013 at 05:11 AM
George it is people like you, and mostly of your political persuasion who have wrecked our processes since you see everything as political. Deklab schools needed action and the GOV has acted as directed by the LAW (which means it was passed by the Legislature). If I have to accept a Dem Pres. you can accept a Rep. GOvernor.
Betsy Parks February 26, 2013 at 05:13 AM
They can apply to the GOv. although the longer they stay with the legal challenge the less interested I am in seeing them re-instated. Also Nancy needs to focus on Dekalb and not her grand ideas of a grander education system. We can't figure out that we don't have books, fix that first.
Tammy February 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM
I bet that Deal will take the Medicaid money. The Republican governors are caving one by one. The prospect of almost free $$$ is just too tempting. As for the school board, I went to DCSS back in the late 80's and early 90's and it is embarrassing to see how broke down and dysfunctional the school system has become. Something has to give and this is the first step.
George Wilson March 05, 2013 at 06:40 PM
@Betsy Parks I don't live in DeKalb county but agree with the action taken on the school board. I think you need a better class of voter in DeKalb .Of course, it should be noted that Republicans have cut funding to public education for the last ten years.
George Wilson March 05, 2013 at 06:48 PM
@Tammy @Tammy Why are you surprised the Republicans have cut funding to public education for the last ten years even before the Republican created financial crisis. Their agenda is clear .We have to kill public education before we can save it with charter schools, privatization, and funding of private schools. The incompetent elected school board members are helping them in this effort.
Betsy Parks March 05, 2013 at 10:13 PM
@George "need a better class of voters"??? I am not sure what you mean by THAT but do we need to become less divided and more engaged sure! I think what you see as an agenda is a response to failing schools in DeKalb. As a transplant form Virginia whose home state requires accreditation to operate, I think your opinion is myopic. I believe DeKalb County is best positioned to provide the best education for the residents but DeKalb has FAILED! Charter schools, privatization and funding of private schools is the competition WE need if GA does not accredit schools ourselves.


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