DeKalb Lawmakers launch Committee to help Local School Board

ATLANTA (August 26, 2010) – State Senate and House members are forming a legislative review committee in response to the DeKalb County school board’s changing leadership and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ (SACS) questions regarding the board’s practices.  Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) will co-chair the DeKalb School Board Legislative Review Committee and will hold their first meeting on Thursday, Sept. 9 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 341 of the State Capitol. 

“I’m honored to serve as co-chair of this committee and look forward to working with DeKalb County’s legislative delegation to ensure this school system stays on the path to success,” said Jones.  “There are serious issues facing DeKalb’s school system, and we must act immediately to see that the best candidates are elected to the board.  The committee will also review the concerns raised by SACS in our capacity as the state delegation.”

Oliver emphasized the need for cooperation between the legislative committee and the school board, noting: “I’m a proud graduate of the DeKalb County school district, and I’m very concerned about the tough challenges our school board faces.  We need to be proactive with our school board in looking forward to the 2011 Legislative Session to develop policies that address the current problems with the DeKalb County school board system.”

Members of the review committee will look at three specific areas, beginning with the need for more public information on candidates running for election to the school board, including the skills required to meet the current challenges.  Members will also conduct a review of the school board’s implementation of reforms as required under a new law the legislature passed this year.  Finally, the committee will provide assistance to the district in response to SACS’ inquiries and search for a new superintendent. 

The committee will conduct meetings leading up to the legislative session that begins in January.  Other issues that may be addressed include a review of the organization of the board, the organization act for board members and the school district as well as issues related to board oversight, new ethics mandates and public participation in the selection of a new superintendent.     

SACS began its investigation of DeKalb County schools in May, after several school staff members and former superintendent Crawford Lewis were indicted on charges involving conflicts of interest.  The school board is currently working to provide SACS the answers to various questions related to the board’s practices and policies.  Should the answers prove unsatisfactory, the school system could be in danger of losing its accreditation.  Jones and Oliver agree that the legislative review committee will provide the necessary assistance to ensure that DeKalb’s school board successfully meets SACS’ requirements. 

Sen. Emanuel Jones represents the 10th Senate District, which includes portions of DeKalb and Henry counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.0502 or via e-mail at

Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver represents the 83rd House District, which includes portions of DeKalb County.  She may be reached at 404.656.0265 or via e-mail at

For Immediate Release:
August 26, 2010
For Information Contact:
Natalie Strong, Deputy Director
Kallarin Richards, Senior Communications Specialist