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Gov. Given Power to Remove Atlanta School Board Members

A bill that would give the governor of Georgia the power to remove members of the troubled Atlanta school board squeaked in under the wire in the last day of the state's legislative session.

Senate Bill 79
passed the Georgia House on Monday by a vote of 109 to 62, but with the legislative session wrapping up on Thursday, there were questions about whether it would pass. The Senate passed the measure 34-12 in a frenzied wrap-up session, and the bill awaits the governor's signature.

Technically, the measure creates a process that would allow the governor to remove the school board of any district that does not have full accreditation. However, Atlanta is the focus: In January, AdvancEd, the accrediting agency for the district's high schools, placed the district on probation because of board infighting.

The accrediting agency gave the 47,800-student district until September to turn things around, but Atlanta faces an additional challenge because its superintendent, Beverly Hall, plans to leave when her contract is up in June.

Several Atlanta-area politicians were against the bill, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A board picked by the governor may be responsible for hiring the district's next superintendent, which disenfranchises city voters, they say. If the bill is signed into law, a legal challenge is expected.

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