Georgia high court dockets school board case
2:08 pm, March 18th, 2013
The Georgia Supreme Court has docketed the case challenging the constitutionality of a two-year-old law allowing the governor to remove local school board members if they jeopardize the school district’s accreditation.
The high court confirmed the case was docketed today. A spokeswoman said the case will follow the normal course, meaning the justices will have two court terms, or about six months, to make a decision.
The challenge stems from a legal fight between ousted DeKalb County school board Chairman Eugene Walker and Governor Nathan Deal.
Deal issued an executive order on Feb. 25 suspending six of the school board’s nine members, including Walker. The ouster came after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation placed the DeKalb school system on probation. On March 13, Deal named new members to the board.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Judge Richard Story on Thursday asked the state high court to address two questions raised by the governor’s decision to remove and replace the school board members.
The questions are:
- Does OCGA § 20-2-73 violate the Georgia constitutional doctrine that each school system shall be under the management and control of a board of education, the members of which shall be elected as provided by law? OR
- Does the potential removal of school board members as provided for by OCGA § 20-2-73 exceed the General Assembly’s authority to enact general laws regarding local board of education under Article VIII, Section V?
The high court last year rejected Governor Sonny Perdue’s 2010 effort to rebuild the Warren County school board, but the Legislature in 2011 provided governors with new authority to replace school boards. Meanwhile, a restraining order remains in place in Fulton County that has blocked Deal’s attempts to replace the Sumter County board.
For more on this case read today’s article by Staff Writer R. Robin McDonald.