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Office of Attorney General says Dallemand inquiry lacks merit, requires evidence

Romain Dallemand had left the Bibb system in February 2013 and had faced persistent  conservative opposition.
Romain Dallemand had left the Bibb system in February 2013 and had faced persistent conservative opposition.
GPB/Georgia Public Broadcasting

On Tuesday, March 11, Central Georgia's largest television, WMAZ-TV, reported that correspondence from the Office of Georgia's Attorney General says their first look at the audit shows no sign that any crime was committed in regard to former Bibb County Superintendent Romain Dallemand.

The letter from an assistant Attorney General said the following:

..."there has not been an investigation, nor is there anything facially evident in the Annual Financial Report which would warrant a criminal investigation..."

The Bibb County School Board voted 7-1 in February 2013 to part ways with Dallemand.

Dallemand's tenure began when he had been approved by a 5-3 vote from the eight member Bibb Board of Education two weeks before Thanskgiving in November 2010 and his Macon Miracle Plan was approved in early March 2012.

Dallemand attempted to have extensive meetings with the public and the school system's 'stakeholders' about his plans to constructively change Bibb County's majority-black school system and had said the following back in 2011:

"We have a moral imperative to change the course of education in this county and this country. This is not the nice thing to do. We do it because it is the right thing to do."

"Fewer than half of our children are graduating, and I don't want a system where only half of our kids have a chance for success. We cannot lose any more kids; too many kids dying, physically and emotionally. If we're not the ones to save them, who will step up to the plate and do the job?"

Dallemand attempted to do his job to vigorously improve the system, but faced resistance from conservative board members such as Susan Sipe, who has now ascended to board president of the Bibb County Board of Education.

Sipe's majority-minority, Democrat-leaning district and seat on the Bibb County School Board had been used as an obstacle to block Romain Dallemand's Macon Miracle plan from being fully implemented along with the Promise Neighborhood Initiative, an Obama administration program designed to target poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

One of the schools included in Sipe's district is Village Green's Burghard Elementary.

Even though Dallemand has been gone for a year, there is still an effort to send a message by folks such as Sipe and Lynn Farmer via results of an audit that stated that former Superintendent Romain Dallemand committed the school district to millions in contracts without board approval.

During Dallemand's two-year stint (2011-2013) with the Bibb County Schools System as its Superintendent, he faced persistent opposition from mainly North Macon Republicans and relentless pushback from its more conservative Board of Education members-- Lynn Farmer and Susan Sipe-- along with accompanying criticism from the local media based in Macon.

Dallemand want to 'lift all boats' and raise test scores along with introducing innovative programs, but critics wanted status quo and an entry way for a two-tier school system which features the introduction of a charter-based school system.

The interim Bibb Superintendent, Steve Smith, had been a proponent of the Bibb County School System receiving charter status.

Conservative critics who were successful in mounting a campaign to oust Dallemand didn't stop the day that he left, but continued after WMAZ-TV reported in early July that Dallemand was being considered for a new job in Louisiana.

The contempt for Dallemand evolved into efforts to influence the Caddo Parish School Board district months after he left via e-mails, online comments to the local newspaper--Shreveport Times-- and a letter which was vindictive, callous and full of vitriol with hopes that Dallemand-- the longest serving African-American superintendent of Bibb Schools-- would be rejected as a finalist.

Dallemand is currently living in Haiti.

The Macon Telegraph had reported the following:

As the Attorney General’s Office considers a probe, it needs more information than the 2013 audit of the Bibb County school system, which alone does not include enough evidence for a criminal investigation, according to a letter obtained by The Telegraph. The letter was sent March 4 to interim Superintendent Steve Smith from Senior Assistant Attorney General David McLaughlin.

The letter initially informed the school district that District Attorney David Cooke had disqualified his office from taking part in any potential investigation. Cooke requested the state’s involvement due to his prior agreement to serve on the board of the Macon Promise Center.

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