Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Robert Brown, a member of the State
Transportation Board, will join Brad Bryant as a second liaison to the
county's school board to monitor progress of the troubled DeKalb School
District, which has been placed on accreditation probation. The appointment
means a black and white will serve as liaisons.
Deal said the nominating panel would continue to accept applications through
Wednesday to fill the six seats on the board.
Said Deal: "Time is of the essence because we cannot have this cloud hang
over the county or the state. The nominating panel appointed last week will
continue to collect applications through Wednesday, and it will get to work
quickly on filling the open seats so the board can become a functioning
Statement from DeKalb County Board Chair Dr. Melvin Johnson:
I respect the judge's opinion, and appreciate the judge providing an
opinion in a timely manner, because time is of the essence. It is
essential that we have a governing board capable of meeting the needs of
our administration, students, parents and taxpayers. Equally important is
having a board in place to work with the administration on ensuring that
the district regains full accreditation. I pledge my full and complete
cooperation with the panel of citizens Gov. Nathan Deal has identified to
select new board members, and I trust they will work expeditiously to
ensure we have a governing board capable of addressing the pressing needs
of our school system.
DeKalb School Board Member Eugene Walker issues statement regarding the federal court judge's ruling:
Constitutional and Civil Rights at Stake
I am dismayed but not deterred, following our setback in federal court
Monday. I respectfully but wholeheartedly disagree with the judge's
decision, and I plan to continue to seek justice through the court system
until this matter with the Governor is resolved. This is why:
I was born in Thomaston, a small town in Upson County Georgia. The indignity
of segregation and racism was the backdrop of my youth. I swore at that time
that I would stand up for my rights no matter the cost. I have not swayed
from the self commitment, and virtually all my adult life has been dedicated
to service to my fellow man, with a special dedication to education.
I preface this to explain, again, why I am obligated to engage the governor
in the court system. It is morally abhorrent to sit idly by and allow the
usurping of the one man one vote rights that has been bought and paid with
the blood, sweat and tears of my generation. It is imperative that public
servants preserve and protect the constitution and adhere to all laws,
including the precept of a citizens¹ right to choose their representative
government. With the current assault of Section V of the voting rights act
and the perpetual gerrymandering to disenfranchise races of people, I am
compelled to employ every means available to me to protect citizens¹ rights.
The governor is using SACS and the State Board of Education as a hammer and
chisel to chip away at the progress we have made.
No one on the DeKalb County Board of Education, myself included, has
committed a crime or misappropriated, misused or misspent funds entrusted to
us. Quite the opposite: We have served with honesty and integrity. In fact,
this board under the severe stress by the downturn of the economy has worked
tirelessly to provide a quality education to our children with a minimum
amount of adverse impact on the homeowners of this county. It has not been
easy, and there has not always been a consensus. There is no crime in that,
rather it is an inherent ingredient in the democratic process.
I don't feel the governor is personally attacking me. This is not about
Eugene Walker. When I step aside through my own actions or through the
wisdom of the electorate, I believe I will ultimately be judged on my legacy
as an educator, coach, administrator, state senator, state commissioner,
pardon and parole board member, in addition to my role now as a school board
member. I believe the greatest gift I can bequeath to the children of this
school system at this time is a contemporary lesson on civics, civil
liberties and standing up for what is right.
If this unconstitutional act is to stand, then what is next? It will only be
a matter of time before another constitutional right will be taken away by
another wayward and self-perpetuating politico under the guise of the
greater good. Minorities should not feel secure if contrived allegations
from anonymous sources with hidden agendas can go to private agencies and to
have their civil rights stolen away. This cannot and shall not be allowed to
Leadership calls for tough and sometimes unpopular decisions. Such it is
with standing up to the power brokers who seek to systematically erode,
divide and conquer the voting strength of partisan and racial minorities. If
I lose, so be it. But I cannot and will not go down without a fight on the
principles at stake here.