Supreme Court upholds suspension of DeKalb school board members

1:02 PM, Nov 25, 2013   |    comments
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DeKalb School Board members removed by Governor Deal on February 25, 2013

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld a statute that allowed Gov. Nathan Deal to suspend six members of the DeKalb County School Board, including its chairman.

In an opinion released Monday, Georgia's high court said the statute "does not violate the Georgia Constitution."

Board chairman Dr. Eugene Walker and five others were suspended in February, two months after the DeKalb County School District was put on accredited probation by the Southeastern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The suspensions occurred under Georgia's School Board Suspension Statute of 2010, which places school systems on a level of accreditation that's only one notch above complete loss of accreditation "for school board governance related reasons."

Walker and the school district filed a lawsuit in federal court, saying the suspensions violated both the U.S. and Georgia constitutions. In the lawsuit, Walker argued the legislature had no authority to suspend or remove school board members, and that it gave the government undue power to control local school systems.

"We are unpersuaded by these contentions," the Supreme Court of Georgia said in Monday's opinion. "(We) conclude that (the School Board Suspension Statute) is not an unconstitutional infringement upon the governing authority of local school boards, nor is it a violation of any other constitutional provision or right, as asserted by Walker in this case."

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