The DeKalb County school district has been through a lot since December 2012. A scathing report from the district’s accrediting agency led to a heated state hearing. Shortly afterwards, Gov. Nathan Deal replaced two-thirds of the school board.
The district improved its accreditation status after a review last December. But the upcoming school board elections could bring more leadership changes.
Twenty-two candidates have qualified to run. The district improved its status from Accredited Probation to Accredited Warned in January.
At that time, Gov. Deal wouldn’t speculate on whether any of the board members he appointed would run for their seats. The governor said that wasn’t a condition of the interview process they underwent the year before.
“I did not think at the time that was the appropriate thing to ask,” Deal said. “Some people asked some of those and they said, ‘No,’ they were taking this position for this interim timeframe with the idea that they could contribute to remedying a problem and their concern and interest was not to run for elected office.”
But four of the six appointees are running: Thad Mayfield, Michael Erwin, Karen Carter, and Joyce Morley. Mayfield will face four challengers, including Jesse “Jay” Cunningham, one of the board members Deal removed.
Nancy Jester recently qualified to run for state schools superintendent. Meanwhile, her husband, Stan, is running for her old seat on the DeKalb school board. He is running unopposed.
DeKalb’s board will shrink this election from nine seats to seven. All seven are up for grabs. The Primary Election is May 20th; any runoffs will be held in July; and the General Election will take place in November.
By Martha Dalton
WABE 90.1 FM