STATE ROUNDUP: Suspended DeKalb school board members in limbo but collecting pay

ATLANTA — Six weeks after Gov. Nathan Deal suspended six DeKalb County school board members, all of them are still collecting paychecks from taxpayers.

None had resigned as of Friday afternoon, according to DeKalb school officials, and the board members are getting their $18,000-a-year pay even as DeKalb also pays the six new members installed by Deal.

None of the suspended members had petitioned the governor for reinstatement by noon Friday. They'll be automatically removed in three weeks if they don't petition. If they do petition, they will continue receiving pay and benefits for 30 to 90 days from their petition date.

Deal suspended the members Feb. 25 under a 2011 law that gives him authority to remove school boards in districts on accreditation probation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed DeKalb on probation in December and threatened to strip accreditation by year's end if the system didn't address management shortcomings.

Last week, the head of SACS met with the new school board. Mark Elgart told them DeKalb would likely remain on probation come December, or even improve a notch to "warned" status.

"That was a very positive statement he made," Superintendent Michael Thurmond said afterward. "We will not lose accreditation because we're going to take the steps to make sure that does not happen, and I think he reaffirmed that."

Weeks earlier, during a March visit with teachers at Cross Keys High School, Thurmond said 60 percent of SACS' concerns involved the school board, which was accused of nepotism, meddling and other mismanagement.

"Well, we got a new board, so 60 percent of the problems are already what," he asked the teachers. After a moment's silence, one of them ventured, "already gone."

Thurmond responded with a smile.

Under the 2011 law, the suspended members -- Nancy Jester, Sarah Copelin-Wood, Jesse "Jay" Cunningham Jr., Donna Edler, Pam Speaks and Eugene Walker -- had to wait 30 days to petition for reinstatement. The window for petitions opened March 27, and the law gives 30 days to file. If they don't do so by April 26, they'll automatically be removed, according to the Georgia Attorney General's Office.


Man tells police he was pistol whipped and robbed in Columbus

COLUMBUS — A 56-year-old Columbus man told police he was pistol whipped and robbed on Saturday.

According to a police report, the armed robbery took place between midnight and 4 a.m. in a parking lot.

The victim was treated at The Medical Center after suffering numerous lacerations to the head.

He told police he was attacked by three black males, one of whom had a beard. The man told police he was put into a choke hold.

He said the thieves got away with $600 in cash.


Police investigate NW Atlanta shooting

ATLANTA — Authorities are investigating a shooting in northwest Atlanta, but the victim is not cooperating with investigators, police said.

Sometime after 8 p.m. Saturday, police responded to reports of shots fired somewhere at Browntown Road.

Minutes later, police received a call of a person shot nearby, at the intersection of Hollywood Road and Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, according to police reports.

A vehicle on Maldo Drive and two homes -- on one Argyle Drive NW and one on Marco Drive -- were struck by bullets during the incident, the incident report stated.

Officers arriving on the scene were unable to find the victim initially, Atlanta police spokesman Sgt. Gregory Lyon said Saturday. He was shot somewhere on Marco Drive, he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via email Sunday. Eventually, the victim turned up at Atlanta Medical Center.

"He was driven by private vehicle to the hospital," Lyon said.

On Sunday, the victim was in stable condition and was being uncooperative with police, he said.

Fourteen shell casings were recovered in the 2300 block of Marco Drive, according to the police report.

The investigation is continuing.


DeKalb teen rescues grandparents in fatal fire that claims aunt's life

ATLANTA — A DeKalb teen rescued his grandparents from an overnight fire that claimed the life of his aunt, a neighbor told reporters.

Three other people were injured in the blaze that started early Saturday morning, said DeKalb County fire officials. The cause of the fire, in the 4500 block of John Wesley Court, remains under investigation.

Victorius Conde, a neighbor, told Channel 2 Action News the homeowner's grandson alerted him to the fire. He said the boy cut his arm breaking a window to escape the burning home. He went back inside to rescue the grandparents but apparently couldn't reach the aunt.

"He went to go get his grandma and grandpa... went back in to get the aunt and I think she had moved from her bedroom to the hallway," Conde's mother, Lauretta Conde, said. "He wasn't able to help her."

The boy's heroism made an impression on neighbors.

"I mean, it's a young kid," Victorius Conde said. "To be able to get both his grandparents out of the house is pretty spectacular."

The identities of the boy, his aunt and the injured residents of the home have not been released. Fire officials said one person was treated at the scene for minor injuries while two others were taken to a local trauma center and are listed in good condition.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 4 months ago

"........60 percent of SACS' concerns involved the school board, which was accused of nepotism, meddling and other mismanagement......."

Whass wrong with a little ne-po-tizz? My anteee need a govament job!


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