Valdosta Daily Times

State News

February 11, 2013

Bill would close talks on troubled school boards

ATLANTA — State education officials could deliberate privately on whether to recommend the removal of troubled school boards under a plan being considered by Georgia legislators.

The plan from Rep. Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta, would allow the state Board of Education to talk behind closed doors on whether to recommend the removal of school board members when their school systems are on the verge of losing their accreditation. Any testimony to the state board and a vote on its final recommendation to the governor would still happen in public.

The state board can enter into consent agreements that require school boards to make improvements. It can also recommend that Gov. Nathan Deal replace or keep local school board members.

“My experience in the past as an educator at board meetings was that the media, who’s the one who reports on these meetings, has a tendency to take individual comments and once they’re printed out of context, change the whole flavor of that,” said Dickson, who retired as a school superintendent from Whitfield County. “That tends to inhibit the ability to have a full discussion of what their findings are from the hearing.”

His bill received initial approval last week from the House Committee on Education.

State Board of Education member Larry Winter, who supports the plan, said it does not impair the public’s right to know.

While Winter said the state board can recommend the removal of local school officials, it aims to rehabilitate bodies. He said public deliberations can chill discussions. He noted that juries can deliberate privately on legal cases and local governments can meet privately on whether to discipline employees.

“If you’re deliberating in private there are no such things as stupid ideas,” Winter said. “When you’re deliberating in public, people are afraid to come up with an off-the-wall idea that might ultimately be the right idea.”

Tim Callahan, a spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, said, “The bill seems to balance openness and the public’s right to know with the ability of the state board to deliberate as in a personnel action.”  

Other parts of the bill would give local school officials more time before they must appear before the state Board of Education.

The legislation would eliminate an all-or-nothing problem that governors face should they replace local school boards. Under current law, the governor can remove an entire board, even school board members elected by voters after a school district is placed on probation.

Winter said governors can now get around the issue by reappointing school board members who arrived after problems started to finish the remainder of their terms in office.

The new law would make clear that local school board members elected after a district is placed on probation can stay even if other board members are removed.

1
Text Only
State News
  • Ga. woman sentenced in child abuse case

    The mother of a 1-year-old boy who was hospitalized with a fractured skull in 2012 has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

    July 29, 2014

  • Kingston’s loss means less clout for Ga.

    For two decades, Rep. Jack Kingston was a congressman who routinely crushed his opponents on election night — winning a new term every other year with vote totals between 63 and 77 percent.

    July 28, 2014

  • salmonella 2 copy.jpg Trial nears for suspects in salmonella case

    Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georgia.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2 injured in western Georgia small plane crash

    Fire officials say two people were hospitalized after small plane crash in western Georgia. 

     

    July 27, 2014

  • Nuclear Construction_Rich(1) copy.jpg Promises of easier nuclear construction fall short

    The U.S. nuclear industry has started building its first new plants in decades using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and money and revive the once promising energy source.
    So far, it’s not working.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Battle of Atlanta_Rich copy.jpg Civil War battle sites have a mobile app

    This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta, one of the key conflicts of the Civil War, and researchers at Emory University’s Center for Digital Scholarship have released a mobile app for the tour.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingston, Perdue make final pitch in Senate race

    U.S. Senate hopefuls Jack Kingston and David Perdue hit every corner of the state in one final scramble before Georgia Republicans will choose one of them to take on Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn this fall in one of the nation’s most significant midterm election matchups.

    July 22, 2014

  • Senate race zeroes in on metro Atlanta, north Ga.

    Neither Republican running in Georgia’s closely watched Senate race has a natural advantage in metro Atlanta, where the state’s most populous area and a ring of northern exurbs are serving as the key battleground ahead of Tuesday’s runoff.

    July 21, 2014

  • Kingston, Perdue: Teamwork begins after runoff

    Businessman David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston have plenty of criticisms for each other as they appeal for votes ahead of Georgia’s Republican Senate primary runoff.

    July 20, 2014

  • Senate-Georgia_Rich copy.jpg Kingston, Perdue offer few details on budget fixes

    Neither Rep. Jack Kingston nor businessman David Perdue has detailed a clear course for changing the nation’s fiscal situation, instead broadly railing against government spending and debt in their campaign for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results