Governor is Wrong to Suspend the DeKalb School Board

School board member Eugene Walker responds to Gov. Nathan Deal's decision to suspend six members of the DeKalb board of education.

The Governor is wrong in his decision to suspend members of the DeKalb County Board of Education.

The DeKalb School District has been placed on probation by a private accrediting institution called SACS which holds considerable sway in the education community.  SACS has made a multitude of allegations, some of which I agree with, but all of them were developed unilaterally in a shrouded process. 

The leadership of SACS is not elected by the public, do not have to conform to open meetings and open records laws, and are not subject to constitutional due process as they sit in judgment of public institutions and elected officials.

The DeKalb Board of Education, like all school boards, is a public institution.  We have open meetings, open records, due process, and we are accountable to the people who elect us into office.  If there is cause to remove a member, such as an indictment or if a member resigns or passes away in office, the voters return to the ballot box to name the successor. 

It is the democratic process: the electorate chooses their representative leadership.  My constituents elected me, my colleagues’ constituents elected them and Governor Deal’s elected him.  It’s the model our founding fathers took great pains to create.  It’s the way it should be.

What we have here is the State of Georgia once again meddling in local affairs.  Rather than funding local school systems properly, the General Assembly chose to write Senate Bill 84, a popular but undemocratic law to impose state will on local politics. 

The Governor has been hamstrung by an onerous law which gives an inordinate amount of power to a private company, SACS, and an appointed state board.  One member of this board was appointed only last week and home schooled her children to boot.

This law, which requires the State Board to recommend the removal of all or none of the school board members, if it was constitutional to begin with, replaces the legitimate will of the voters with that of an appointed group.  This process is a clear attempt to circumvent or get around the democratic process - citizens electing and holding accountable their elected officials.

We have had problems on the DeKalb Board of Education. The DeKalb Board of Education is composed of democrats, republicans, black, white, men, women, liberal, conservatives and tea partiers. By virtue of the electoral process, all are represented and have a seat at the table. 

The wisdom of the voters created the diversity, which is good and healthy for a representative democracy. These problems of communication and respect for each other have been brought to our attention, and we are working on them.  We have hired a new interim superintendant, we have passed a responsible budget, we have identified resolutions to many of the issues raised by the mighty SACS and I have resigned my chairmanship to effectuate the additional changes that are needed as we move forward.

It is against this backdrop that I take a stand to fight for and preserve the democratic process and remain hopeful that those who believe in and support the U.S. and State Constitution will join in. 

I will not quit or step aside.  Governor Deal is wrong to thumb his nose at the U.S. and State constitutions, and he knows he is wrong.  I place my faith in God and the voters of DeKalb County, not elitists under the gold dome who never set foot east of Moreland Avenue.  

Eugene Walker
DeKalb Board of Education District 9

TomMiller1 February 28, 2013 at 08:51 PM
DWM, I asked about the fire departments because DUNWOODY's city manager suggested that Dwoody, Chamblee and Brookhaven develop a unified FD. Read the Dunwoody Crier article. BTW, citing one example on 911 to support the argument that all such shared services won't work is not a logical argument. take some get ready pills, b/c schools and FD's will be together with more than one city.
DunwoodyWorkingMan February 28, 2013 at 09:29 PM
yes our city mgr likes to come up with ideas that expand his Kingdom. ChatComm and the regional SWAT team come to mind. We hope to bring the city mgr back to reality soon. i dont blame you for wanting to partner with dunwoody on schools. it will raise the bar a good bit for the BrookHaven kids, sure 'nough. but be careful because our city mgr will want to take over those pitiful fields behind Montgomery Elem and put in a walking trail or skate park. I have enlisted my friends at Save Dunwoody to put an end to this joint fire department chatter. And folks, this is my final post on Dunwoody patch. I got a contract on my home. pass the yellow mustard one last time. And goodbye to you Rob.
Sara Wara Woo February 28, 2013 at 09:39 PM
http://youtu.be/7oqsc6ahHVI See ya!
TomMiller1 March 01, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Still no bet.
Erey March 04, 2013 at 03:15 PM
He still doesn't get it! BOE chose to pay the defense bill of Crawford Lewis instead of giving Teachers a raise. They chose to give away $114,000 dollars for an ineffective superintendent. They are not showing good judgement in their hiring practices, money mgmt or leadership abilities.


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