Hearing Produces Apparent Tension Between Board Members

Jan 18, 2013

At a hearing Thursday, the Georgia Board of Education unanimously voted to meet again with members of the embattled DeKalb County school board. The hearing was required because the DeKalb board was recently put on probation by its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 

During the hearing, there appeared to be frustration on both sides. State board members, like Mike Royal, repeatedly said DeKalb's governance problems, outlined by SACS, didn’t happen overnight.

DeKalb board chairman Eugene Walker testifies in front of state board of education.
Credit Martha Dalton

“I asked several of the members why there wasn’t a sense of urgency to deal with this.," Royal said, "And my opinion and my feeling is that I never got a good answer.”

DeKalb board chair Eugene Walker says he thought state officials had their minds made up going into the hearing.

“I got the impression they were more eager to make a recommendation to the governor about possibly removing the board," Walker says, "And to me that was secondary.”

Walker says he’d hoped state officials would give the DeKalb board a 3-month window in which to make improvements. Instead, the state board gave DeKalb just over a month. At that time, state officials can decide whether they’ll recommend to Governor Deal whether to suspend the entire DeKalb board.