Senator Millar and I have worked with the House Education Committee and Mary Margaret Oliver to amend Senate Bill 79 to shrink the DeKalb BOE to seven members as a matter of general statewide law. The bill passed full committee this afternoon and is now in the House Rules Committee. The bill also addresses problems in Savannah-Chatham County and the Atlanta Public Schools.
In essence, this bill, which seems to have some serious support, trumps all of the others that prompted the board to write a letter, signed by each member to Sen. Mosby, the head of the DeKalb delegation, stating their (obvious) lack of support. We discussed that letter, which you can view by clicking the post, Self-preservation? Another political power play by the Board!.
They really need to get a clue. SACS recommended a reduction in the size of the DeKalb school board. This is the fifth bill introduced into the Georgia legislature attempting to reduce the size of the DeKalb school board. At what point will the board stop and self-assess? What will it take for them to "hear" the message? They are elected by the people, yet they won't even support Mary Margaret Oliver's attempt to allow the people to vote on what the people would prefer as the size of the board (HB 22).
Enter Senate Bill 79 which states in part:
(a) Members Effective January 1, 2012, members of local boards of education shall be elected for terms of not less than four years, provided that longer terms of office may be unless their terms are otherwise provided by local Act or constitutional amendment.
(b)(1) Each local board of education shall have no more than seven members as provided by local Act. (2) This subsection shall not apply to a local board of education whose board size exceeds seven members as provided by local constitutional amendment or federal court order or pursuant to a local law in effect prior to July 1, 2010; provided, however, that if the local law of any such local board of education is amended to revise the number of members on such board, paragraph (1) of this subsection shall apply.
(c) Members of local boards of education in office on July 1, 2011, who are serving terms of office of less than four years shall serve until December 31, 2012, and until their respective successors are elected and qualified. Members elected in 2011 shall serve until December 31, 2014, and until their respective successors are elected and qualified. Successors to all such members shall be elected to serve four-year terms of office and until their respective successors are elected and qualified.
Further . . .
(a) On and after January 1, 2013, in counties in which there is being collected a homestead option sales and use tax pursuant to Article 2A of Chapter 8 of Title 48 and a county sales and use tax for educational purposes pursuant to Part 2 of Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 48 and the county board of education consists of more than seven members, such county boards of education shall comply with this Code section. Such county boards of education shall consist of seven members elected from single-member districts of approximately equal population. The number of members may be reduced to less than seven members by local legislation, but such members shall be elected from single-member districts of approximately equal population.
The bill also allows the governor to step in and take control of a school board in a system that has lost accreditation (Atlanta) along with a few other stipulations.
Please let your legislators know your thoughts on this bill.