Deal’s overhaul of DeKalb County school board is complete

Gov. Nathan Deal’s overhaul of the DeKalb County school board is complete.

A state judge on Friday recommended sustaining the suspensions against former board chair Eugene Walker and ex-members Donna Edler and Jay Cunningham, and Deal’s office said he accepts the judge’s findings.

It comes a week after the judge found that two other members, Sarah Copelin-Wood and Pam Speaks, also failed to make a case for reinstatement. The sixth board member that Deal replaced in the March overhaul, Nancy Jester, is already off the board because she chose not to appeal Deal’s decision.

The suspensions were triggered by the private agency that offers DeKalb accreditation, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The law says the governor can remove school boards in districts on probation if the state school board recommends it.

SACS put Georgia’s third-largest school district on probation in December, alleging financial mismanagement, nepotism and meddling in administrative matters. The Georgia Board of Education then held hearings and recommended removal of two-thirds of the board.

The ousted board members had argued that they had done nothing wrong, but they faced an uphill battle. Their last remaining hope is a pending Georgia Supreme Court that contends the law used by the governor to suspend the members is unconstitutional.

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