In response to a question before the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce during a Capitol meeting Tuesday, the governor said he's still interested but not ready.
"This is something a number of individuals are looking at and working on. I don't know that it will be in a posture to be considered by the General Assembly this year," he said. "But it will certainly be something, that if it is not acted upon this year, I will continue to try to work on that." Attention has been focused on the DeKalb County Board of Education which faces a hearing Thursday before the State Board of Education over whether Deal should remove its members for unprofessional behavior. Existing law gives governors power to replace local board members after their schools lose accreditation over board members not working together or interfering with the local administrators, so-called governance issues.
Deal said during his State of the State Address last month that he wanted power to kick out boards if their schools are lousy, even if everyone gets along just fine.
"When these kinds of things happen, it has an effect far beyond just the school system. It begins to effect whether or not businesses decide to come to your community when you have this kind of turmoil in your education system," he told the Augusta business leaders.
The problem is more than simply penning a few lines and having legislators vote. The state constitution created the school boards and gives local voters the power to decide who sits on them.
The Georgia School Boards Association opposes allowing governors to yank out anyone who's been elected, unless they get convicted of a crime.
"We believe that, as elected officials, their fate lies with the voters," said Angela Palm, the association's policy director. "We continually said this should be approached through the recall process." The association favors the loss of accreditation triggering an election where voters can decide to remove board members and pick who replaces them.
Deal said that just because there is no bill ready for introduction this year, the matter won't go away.
"This is an indication that probably they'll be some other areas that will be explored in terms of education, if not this year, next year," he said.
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