Governor Nathan Deal’s nominating committee started with 400 names and on Tuesday the Governor’s Office released the names of 63 people who were interviewed by Monday. Tuesday Deal met with the nominating committee to review the remaining candidates and said he was impressed with the quality of applicants applying for the six DeKalb County Schools’ BOE seats.
“I’m very encouraged by the names I saw. And I think everyone will be encouraged when they see the qualifications that the individuals that have been interviewed bring to the table,” Deal said. “It’s a commentary on the citizens of DeKalb County that we’ve had so many very qualified people.”
Governor Deal removed six board members after a recommendation from the State School Board. In December 2012 the accrediting agency, SACS, placed DeKalb County’s accreditation on probation.
A question over whether or not Deal had the right to remove and replace the board members was the issue of a federal law filed by the removed DeKalb County board members. As that question was sent to the State Supreme Court, Deal’s five member panel got to work carving down the list of applicants vying to replace the empty seats.
Sparks flew on Monday as Governor Deal met with the Georgia NAACP, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus and other leaders to address issues including giving voters a chance to select the replacements and making sure African American are among the six candidates selected.
Governor Deal told local media Tuesday that he does not apologize for comments civil rights leaders say were offensive because he did not intend to offend. In response to NAACP’s outrage, Governor Deal said, “Since race was the only issue they were concerned about…then they should find qualified black candidates.” The Governor says he was suggesting that the groups get involved in the process of electing new school board members in 2014.
However, the Governor’s comments were negatively received by the NAACP and taken as “insensitive and inflammatory”.
Deal told the media that he was disappointed that the issue of a possible loss of accreditation never came up during the 90 minute meeting.
While the DeKalb County School System does not have a board in place to lead it yet, Tuesday, Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond announced a hiring freeze for all positions except those that directly impact the classroom. The district implemented the hiring freeze in order to stay within budget for 2013.