Thoughts on Yesterday's State Board of Education Hearing

Update on State BoE Hearing of the DeKalb BoE

Yesterday afternoon, the State Board of Education (“BoE”) conducted a hearing to determine whether they should recommend to the Governor that he suspend the members of the DeKalb Board of Education.  I attended the full hearing and listened to all of the testimony and the questions.  I found the State BoE to be very well informed.  They asked tough and important questions and required accountability from each of the members of the DeKalb BoE.   

After hearing testimony from all of the members of the DeKalb BoE, the State BoE deferred making an immediate recommendation.  Instead, they entered into a Consent Order and Agreement (“Consent Order”) that requires that this hearing will continue on February 21, 2013 at 1 PM.  

What does this mean? 

The State BoE gave the DeKalb BoE a little over a month to demonstrate they are making progress in addressing the issues raised in the SACS report

It is impossible to say what action the State BoE will take after the next hearing. My impression is that, if the DeKalb BoE shows little to no progress, then the State BoE will vote to recommend suspension. If the DeKalb BoE shows progress, then the State BoE may give them more time and continue to monitor through a Consent Order that describes specific actions within prescribed timeframes. 

I will continue to monitor these proceedings and provide updates.  In my opinion, this is the most important issue now facing DeKalb County.  I am committed to keeping you informed and doing my part to be sure that public officials do the right thing for our children and the welfare of our community. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sally January 22, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Oh yes, it's all the fault of SACS. They are picking on those poor Dekalb County School Board members. It's just incredible. They have all the local school boards all over the country they could single out. But they chose the Dekalb County school board.
Sally January 22, 2013 at 01:05 PM
OK, I'm confused. They have already given them 3 months!?!? Even before the hearings started??? If that is true this is the first I've heard it. Not saying that would be surprising but it hasn't been covered in the news outlets I catch. But, that would shine a light on the situation even more. Maybe that's why Eugene Walker slept through the meeting. Maybe that's why he couldn't answer a basic question about who he represents on the school board. Why does he need to worry about that now, he will have another chance to come up with reasonable answers and to pay attention to what's going on. Which just shows the calibre of these people and proves the point that if they are left there, once the spotlight is off of them they will simply return to their old tricks.
HamBurger January 22, 2013 at 01:08 PM
Ms. Sally, or, maybe SACS should have given DCSS an intervention years ago? SACS is just an approved moneymaker for Mr. Mark, nothing more. Regardless, this mess will detract from our area for years to come unless effective corrective measures are taken immediately. And by immediately, I mean the three month mark at the latest. Please pass the yellow mustard!
Sally January 22, 2013 at 01:19 PM
I believe SACS has given them warning in the past. Years ago? Not sure what you mean by that. Hasn't been that long ago that Dekalb County schools were the best in the state. The recent administration has been expert at one thing... shredding a great reputation that was decades old in short order. SACS may not be perfect. It's human run, so of course it's not. But it is what we have. And it works for every other school system across this country. To attack them as the problem makes me wonder if you aren't Eugene Walker posting under an assumed name.
Cheryl Miller January 23, 2013 at 08:13 AM
No, sorry. I should have clarified. They went into it asking for three months. At the end of their presentations (which was just a parade of each DeKalb board member saying his/her promise to try harder, essentially) the state BOE determined that they were not ready to vote. There was a concern raised at the beginning by the DeKalb BOE attorney that he was new to the case AND they received the SACS packet over the winter holidays so there had not been adequate time to prepare. The state BOE decided (very calmly and professionally) to extend the hearing into their next meeting, Feb. 21. There was mention of "due process" which sounds like they are anticipating a recommendation for suspension. Rather than writing up a new order, they agreed to the "consent order" that had been provided at the beginning but changed the time from from 90 to 30 days. They left in the portion that says they should be making improvement from now until then, so they will likely be asked to summarize the actions they have taken relative to the 11 steps mentioned on the SACS report.


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