DeKalb County school board faces state board - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

DeKalb County school board faces state board


DeKalb County Board of Education members are attending a state hearing Thursday morning after their efforts to block it failed. The hearing could result in all members being removed.

Board members tried to stop the State Board of Education hearing on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The state board could recommend that the governor suspend board members and name new ones.

"We're not trying to keep a job," said Gene Walker, former DeKalb School Board Chairman. "We're trying to fight for the right to do the job. That's all we want to do is do the job that we were elected to do and we will continue to persevere to do that. And we're prepared to tell our story to whoever will listen to it."

The DeKalb board voted Wednesday to name Melvin Johnson the new board chairman. Johnson replaces Walker, who announced he is stepping down so the district can move in a new direction. A former deputy school superintendent in DeKalb County, Johnson has 37 years of experience in education.

Earlier Wednesday, board members also took part in a five-hour training session to become more effective leaders and better understand their role in the district.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) put the district on probation for a lack of leadership, money mismanagement and an abuse of power.

"I think it's extremely important," said interim school Superintendent Michael Thurmond. "Many of the board members are learning things that they thought they understood but things are being clarified, and I think it's the right direction."

Thurmond would not comment on a judge's refusal to block the state hearing.

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