Read the Governor’s Executive Order – for Miller County

Read this Executive Order the Governor sent out to Miller County when he removed their school board. We darn well better see the same level of concern for DeKalb!

THE STATE OF GEORGIA EXECUTIVE ORDER BY THE GOVERNOR:

WHEREAS: The quality of education for Georgia’s students is a top priority for this state; and
WHEREAS: This state strives to provide quality education to every student regardless of that student’s school district or school; and
WHEREAS: Every school district and school in this State will be held to the highest standard; and
WHEREAS: Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-72(a)(2), when a local school system or school has been placed on the level of accreditation immediately preceding loss of accreditation for school board governance related reasons and does not retain full accreditation, the State Board of Education shall recommend to the Governor whether to suspend all members; and
WHEREAS: Pursuant to this same code section, if the State Board of Education makes a recommendation to suspend, the Governor may suspend all members and appoint temporary replacement members; and
WHEREAS: Under the provisions outlined above, the State Board of Education has recommended to the Governor the suspension of all members of the Miller County Board of Education; and
WHEREAS: The Miller County School Board Nominating Committee was created as a nonpartisan, non-political committee, composed of education professionals to seek out and ensure quality replacements for school board members; and
WHEREAS: After working with community leaders of Miller County, reviewing numerous candidates, and by further interview and interrogatory with the most qualified of those candidates, the Miller County School Board Nominating Committee has unanimously recommended five individuals of exceptional quality for replacements to the Miller County School Board.

Now, THEREFORE, BY VIRTUE OF THE POWER VESTED IN ME AS GoVERNOR OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: That effective immediately, Monica Posey of Colquitt, Georgia, Miller County is appointed to fill the unexpired term of the Miller County Board of Education, Post 1.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED: That effective immediately, Craig Tully of Colquitt, Georgia, Miller County is appointed to fill the unexpired term of the Miller County Board of Education, Post 2.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED: That effective immediately, J.C. “Buddy” Johnson of Colquitt, Georgia, Miller County is appointed to fill the unexpired term of the Miller County Board of Education, Post 3.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED: That effective immediately, Richard W. Little of Colquitt, Georgia, Miller County is appointed to fill the unexpired term of the Miller County Board of Education, Post 4.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED: That effective immediately, Billy W. Roland of Colquitt, Georgia, Miller County is appointed to fill the unexpired term of the Miller County Board of Education, Post 5.

This 28 day of September, 2012.

Nathan Deal
GOVERNOR

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23 Responses to Read the Governor’s Executive Order – for Miller County

  1. allyson says:

    It would be unfortunate if the new board members get swept out with the old. They haven’t had time to do any mischief yet.

  2. thedeal2 says:

    Actually, Allyson, they have. Two of them were called out in the SACS report for meddling in school affairs before they even took office. I think any existing board member who truly wants our system to succeed would be okay with sacrificing him or herself for the good of the entire system.

  3. John Dewey III says:

    The rollover of new members can be seen as a reason or as an excuse not to act. While it is isn”t fair to pull the newly elected members, there will always be new people, so when is it a good time to act? I think Governor Deal’s decision on the Victor Hill case gives the best hint as to which we he will go on this issue……..

  4. Concernedmom30329 says:

    I don’t think we can take anything from the Hill case. The law is different.

    However, I am concerned that the Governor will give the Board time to fix the issues and that is a waster.

  5. No Duh says:

    Does anyone know if the Governor can re-appoint a current BOE member (i.e. Nancy Jester) to a temporary replacement position?

  6. I suppose anything goes, but according to the Crier, the board members are dismissed with full pay, so I would hope that the newly appointed members would at least use Nancy and others as consultants. They will need help getting up to speed.

    Of course, reading DSW1 and DSW2 would be a great start! 😉

  7. howdy1942 says:

    I agree. This Board has received numerous warnings and sanctions from SACS. For example, two years ago Interim-Superintendent Ramona Tyson filed over 25,000 pages in response to a SACS order. One of the action items involved meddling by the Board in administrative affairs of the District. In specific violation of that order, Chairman Eugene Walker emailed Superintendent Atkinson pressuring her to employ the brother of another board member. He later said that he is not aware of anything he has done wrong!

    Had this Board and Superintendent been able to show some significant progress in addressing SACS’ findings of two years ago, maybe the Governor would have some grounds for allowing this Board to continue with supervision. However, SACS did not present a single shred of evidence that this Board had improved at all. It is very clear that this Board cannot even begin to address the concerns expressed by SACS and there is no basis for believing they can do so in the next 12 months.

    The case of Victor Hill is very different. He was indicted before he was elected – the people elected him knowing this. On the contrary, members of this Board were already in office when the issues defined by SACS occurred.

    It is my sincere hope that Governor Deal will remove the entire board as well as the two members cited by SACS for having already violated its policies. I hope that he will appoint some board members who don’t bring any baggage and don’t have any biases and leave them there until SACS is satisfied and our children are again the focus points for the board. Superintendent Atkinson, likewise, needs to go. It is becoming increasingly obvious that she is in over her head.

  8. worriedaboutthenumbers says:

    Oh please. As much as there is a lot of truth to the SACS report, SACS seems to think that if a newly elected representative visits the schools they represent, that is already interference. I would like to see some proof that those visits were the same as the ones that were problematic. That’s implied, but there is not a shred of evidence. Visits to meddle are different from visits to learn. Despite the fact that the decisions should be made with the district in mind, elected officials should be able to gather information from the people they are representing. And they are representing parts of the county. If SACS doesn’t like that, and everyone agrees with them, then we should scrap the current election system and hold a county wide vote for the entire board. Then it makes sense that they shouldn’t be allowed to visit ‘their’ schools. Until then, board members should communicate with their constituents often and openly. SACS is going too far here. Don’t trust SACS too easily. They are just some unelected folks with a lot of power.

  9. hopespringseternal says:

    Since meddling is in the eye of the beholder, that’s an automatic complexity which can’t be reduced to a few sentences in a report. Many principals are either innately fearful or conditioned to fear their board members. If principals were each qualified, competent and had a “pair”, that would remove many of the meddling charges. On the other hand, it may be a hard fact that BOE members do meddle — to the detriment of the smooth operation of a school day. Some principals feel that if a BOE member arrives they must pull resources to pretty up the place and roll out a red carpet. Others get so nervous that something untoward will be reported to the central office that they can’t function the remainder of the day. So what’s the answer? A protocol with a balanced approach — that sure the BOE can visit, but after first giving the staff the courtesy of a phone call and with care to not interrupt the school. It takes the BOE member knowing who they’re dealing with and not upsetting sensibilities. For all we know, such a thing may have been in place, but that’s not reflected in the report. So I look with a jaundiced eye on this portion of the report.

  10. Bye bye says:

    No. It was more than just visiting.
    In GA, SACS is all we have right now.
    I actually believe that we would be better off with all board members having to run county wide– even if each seat would be designated to a district where the candidates had to live but the entire county gets to vote.
    Have you ever been to McNair High School and seen the horses on the roof? Over a half million was spent on those thanks to Coplin-Woods? This just isn’t working.

  11. Bye bye says:

    There is a board policy in place for board member visits. Ironically it was first adopted when Womack served on the BOE because of his bad behavior. He would allegedly yell at administrators and principals in the hallways.
    Copelin-woods has interfered immensely in the McNair cluster. Cunningham has interfered beyond belief at MLK and Lithonia.

  12. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    Sumter county board of education is fighting back. Think about it … the Governor can’t just remove elected officials … especially when the race card gets thrown in. This law will be deemed unconstitutional.

  13. bettyandveronica1 says:

    The only time a board member should visit their district is when their constituents are there. Meaning band performances, school functions, town hall meeting, dcpc/elpc, etc. It is not about talking to the principal/teachers. They were elected by the parents, taxpayers of a certain district and should seek to represent those people by adhering to policy in place. Imagine if you were a principal dealing with an unruly child or a bad situation when in walks the board member for which your school resides. Not only is it a disturbance but does the situation really warrant a board members knowledge or interpretation?

    A principal has a right to believe that their effectiveness as a leader is supported by their employers. This type of unwarranted intrusion only serves to make people feel untrusted and on notice. Now I do believe the Sup, needs to get his/her ascot out of the office and into more schools unannounced, yep that is appropriate. Just get in the car and show up, not posse along for the ride, no driver. She is afterall, their employer.

    A board member is separate from the school system day to day because they are in short stewards of the taxpayer funds. They should be asking questions of the Sup and expecting answers straight from her, if by way of her minions to explain in greater detail. But they need to come ready for anything. She is responsible to make sure the board member is given accurate, complete information in which to make fiscal decisions. We have one Sup and a posse of board members who act like they own their districts.

    I have long advocated that the board should be elected en masse, by the county as a whole. If a board member is making a decision that effects children in other areas other than there own, their parents should have been able to cast a vote to approve or disapprove of this persons platform, reputation, morals, etc. We are not really being fairly represented. We are taxed and these board members come with their own agendas for their areas. Just because there is local representation doesn’t mean it is a good thing.
    Case in point: Just look at Orson. Hasn’t Fernbank already received a good bit of fixing up? Now he’s advocated we just need to sweep all that money spent aside and tear down the building. Just give us folks a new school, we need it. If they need more room then use some of the money to add on. No room for an addition…then your site is too stinking small for a larger school.
    This project is unnecessary. If it is over crowded in that school district, redistrict to Briar Vista or Laurel Ridge. It really is that simple. but no one has the BALLS TO DO IT. If the doctors, lawyers and indian chiefs of Fernbank want to pay for private, let them go. Then the school will be right sized and there is no issue. I believe there will be more than enough children left in the building with out the blowhards and their progeny I am sure the involved parents will still be there, being involved, its what we do. Why set out to damage two schools just to satisfy these people?

    The system could take half of the money they are saving on NOT building a new school and give it to other schools in the Brookhaven, Dresden, Cross Keys area for their much needed repairs. Or do these schools, kids, taxpayers, businesses, parents not really matter enough.

  14. A DCSD Mom says:

    Not necessarily germane to this conversation…but I’m curious if anyone has attended the community meetings the last two days regarding the School Organization Plan?

  15. thedeal2 says:

    @DeKalb Inside Out, thank you for that article. Wow, if that happened here, I would have to move, really. It would be one of the few major actions our board would have taken, and it would have been to save their own a$$es instead of raising our students’ achievement.

    I still maintain, even with the possibility that the Governor’s appointment process ends up more political than anything, that we would be better off with a new slate. We know the group we have now doesn’t work and won’t work. I don’t care if they were technically meddling at their schools or not, those aren’t the only bad things they’ve done.

    Overall our school system is in drastic decline and has been for the past 3 superintendent administrations. I am willing to take a chance with appointed members who hire a new superintendent. It would be the only fresh start our system has ever had, and it would be very telling. If we couldn’t make progress with an entirely new slate, then that would be time to abandon ship. School systems don’t have decades to improve. If your child was just beginning with Crawford Lewis, you’re going to be out of the game very soon, and most likely will not be fighting this battle once they graduate. New parents will start the battle, and it will continue on and on. Those of us in the heart of it see this opportunity for what it is and are willing to risk some of the unknown to get rid of the slime at the central office.

  16. Concernedmom30329 says:

    TheDeal2

    You can expect our BoE to do the same thing, hire attorneys with our tax dollars to fight this.
    We are doomed.

  17. @bye bye – actually, the ‘mustang’ statues were about $25,000 – still outrageous.

  18. thedeal2 says:

    I just posted on the other thread that a big difference between Sumter County and DeKalb County is that Sumter was in trouble only because of board members sniping at each other. Noone has any issue with student achievement or school performance like we do. I think that makes a difference. And while our board members are elected officials, so is Deal. It’s not like we’re asking an appointed official to take action on elected officials. I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not a fortune teller, and anything goes in DeKalb, and, unless there are circuit court judges or constitional lawyers on this thread, I don’t think anyone else knows what’s going to happen, either.

    I don’t see my family staying here, unfortunately. Lots of great people, but even if we did find a private school we liked and could afford, I don’t want to send one penny to this corrupt school system and the families that support it. It hasn’t done anything but go downhill since we arrived here 10 years ago. If this board shows even more of their true colors by fighting this, I predict an exodus like we haven’t seen in a long time.

  19. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    I don’t have high hopes for the State BOE, Governor, or DeKalb Delegation fixing this. I do have high hopes for charter schools, the parent trigger law and independent school districts.

  20. Kim says:

    “Does anyone know if the Governor can re-appoint a current BOE member (i.e. Nancy Jester) to a temporary replacement position?”

    There is an appeal process for any BoE member who is replaced by an interim appointee to make a case for re-instatement. I think the newly seated members would have a strong argument to be re-instated in spite of the conduct prior to being seated. The removal of a member is for failure to perform and violations while executing their duty. Those that just took the oath would likely be re-instated within 30 days. My opinion only …

  21. Marsha T. says:

    I have high hopes that Governor Deal will remove the current board. I fear, however, that there is little hope for removing Dr. Atkinson or any leftovers from the Crawford Lewis administration. The atmosphere of entitlement and animosity toward stakeholders, students and school-level employees among some folks in the central office is astounding. It seems that the job of many in the central office consists entirely of doing everything possible to keep anyone outside their magic circle from having accurate information about expenses, salaries, job titles or anything else that would allow one to form a complete picture of how the system functions (or rather, doesn’t function). I have known some good people who worked for the central office, and they have quit in disgust. Dr. Atkinson is, as another writer pointed out, clearly in over her head. This comes of being not the best candidate for the job, but the only candidate once the board had run off anyone qualified. I can’t think of a single thing she has done to improve our schools, and much of what she had done has been harmful.

    Being intimidated by board members doesn’t mean a teacher or administrator is a coward. People are often fired in the corporate world for reasons that are arbitrary and have nothing to do with an employee’s performance, and may not pose any impediment to getting a new job. In the world of education, however, if one is fired it is very difficult to find another position in another system. Besides, board members don’t just reserve their ire for adults. Ms. Copelin-Wood graced our school with her presence at a performance a few years ago. We had reserved comp tickets for her, but rather than go to the box office to pick up her tickets and sitting in her assigned seat, she swept into the theatre, brushing ushers who tried to help her aside, and sat in someone else’s seat. When approached by an usher who very politely tried to tell her that her reserved seat was elsewhere, she proceeded to berate and attempt to browbeat the poor girl (who happens to be my neighbor). The child went to get the house manager, an upperclassman, who backed up the usher, and offered to help Ms. Copelin-Wood find her seat. She demanded to see our principal. Our dear principal backed up her students, telling her they were doing their jobs. Our ever-gracious board member stormed out of the theatre, and hasn’t been back since, I don’t believe. Good riddance. Previous posts commenting on MacNair high school and it’s ridiculous architecture are quite correct. Copelin-Wood harped and harped on the board to build that white elephant, with it’s huge performing arts center that no-one in that school uses, and subsequently, in my opinion, robbed DeKalb School of the Arts of the facility it deserves. Did she care? No, because at the time, DSA wasn’t in her district. Never mind that kids from all over the county attend DSA, if it didn’t help her accrue a little more power, a little more aggrandizement for her petty fiefdom, she wasn’t interested. These are just a few examples of a board member’s outrageous conduct. Citizens have feared to protest too much for fear of the board’s and central office’s vindictiveness. Even at this Monday’s board meeting, very few citizen speakers dared call for the board to resign, for fear of a backlash.

  22. psdad says:

    The problems with DCSS go well beyond the personality issues that were the cause of the Miller County Boards dismissal. If you combine the findings of the SACS report with the findings of the KPMG audit there should be enough evidence of financial fraud and self dealing to justify immediate dissolution of the board and a criminal investigation.

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