Judge decides fate of Sumter Co. School Board - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Judge decides fate of Sumter Co. School Board

SUMTER CO., GA (WALB) -

Sumter County school board members aren't getting kicked off the board for now.

A hearing on whether that should happen was postponed while a judge hears their arguments on why they shouldn't be removed.

Dark clouds continue to hang over the Sumter County School Board Wednesday. It could have been the beginning of the end for the School Board as it stands now.  But Tuesday, a judge gave the board a reprieve by upholding a suit by six of its nine members.

"It's in the Superior Court in Fulton County," said Maurice King, Attorney.

The hearing to determine the fate of the board was scheduled for today, but the judges order stopped the hearing from taking place.  The attorney for the board is challenging the very constitutionality of the law.

"Just because a law is on the books doesn't mean it's constitutional," said King.

The basis for the suit is a law that says that any school system that goes on probation faces corrective action from the State Board of Education. Corrective action that could include a recommendation to the Governor to remove the board.  And that's part of the problem as King sees it.

"Once the state Board makes a decision, you cannot appeal their decision," said King.

Part of the problem with the Sumter County Board and what brought the state into the mess involves a dispute between the members of the board.  The board is split into factions, factions that seem far apart.

"If you go over to the school system and look at what you're talking about the objective standards.  The system is doing fine," said King.

King says that even the three board members that he says are causing the state scrutiny are not challenging the job that the schools themselves are doing.

"None of the dissenting board members or their supporters are talking about these type of issues," said King.

While it seems like the two sides are far apart, Dr. Busman told WALB that he was willing to work with the six board members that are part of the suit.  For his part, King is holding out hope as well.

"The hope is for the accreditation agencies and others to look at the objective evidence," said King.

The big question now is which way will the Sumter County School system go in the years ahead?  That could very well determine how well the kids in the classroom perform.

The Sumter County Schools had their accreditation suspended pending a review earlier this year.  A visit from the Accreditation Board is scheduled for December. 

There is precedent for removing a board under this law.  It was used earlier this year to remove the Miller County School Board from office.

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