Mayor Kasim Reed talking about the Atlanta School Board, 1.18.11
ATLANTA -- "This is not something that just came out of the blue. We saw the train coming." Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was thumping a podium in anger, answering reporters' questions about Atlanta Public Schools' probationary status.
His anger growing the more he spoke, Reed denounced the Atlanta school board's abrupt changes in leadership, which led to the rebuke that now threatens the school system's accreditation.
"You need stability and leadership at the top," Reed said. "Now I'm not trying to say who that leader should be. But let's stop with the kabuki theatre and acting like a simple majority is a way to run a board. It is not."
Reed says the school system has damaged its ability to educate its 49,000 students, and damaged its ability to find a new superintendent to replace Beverly Hall.
"And the bigger threat here -- the bigger threat, is that we won't be able to get the most talented people in the country to come here. You just won't! And I can tell you they won't because I've been talking to people who are considering applying for the superintendent position. And the number one issue they raise is governance," Reed said.
If the school board doesn't fix its own problem, the mayor and former state senator says he'll ask the governor and legislature to fix it for them.
"Now, if the school board wants to keep going, I believe this is going to end in a way that is not going to be favorable to them," Reed said.
The mayor says he hasn't spoken yet with any members of the legislature about intervening in the makeup of the school board. He says he wants to give the school board an opportunity to fix the crisis itself first.