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Ga. Senate OKs scholarship tax credit changes

Ga. Senate OKs scholarship tax credit changes

ATLANTA --The Georgia Senate has approved changes to a tax credit program that provides scholarships for children to attend private schools.

State senators voted unanimously Thursday to support the changes, which include a reporting requirement on the average household income of recipients and requires eligible students to have attended public school for at least six weeks with a few exceptions.

Under the system, people can receive state tax credits by giving nonprofit scholarship providers donations of up to $1,000 for individuals and up to $2,500 for married couples.

The Southern Education Foundation had raised concerns that donors may have been allowed to earmark donations, although supporters had argued that was prohibited under the law. The Senate bill would add language specifically prohibiting that.

403 people apply for 6 vacancies on DeKalb School Board

403 people apply for 6 vacancies on DeKalb School Board

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga -- Given the tumultuous state of Georgia's third largest school system, some might ask why anyone would want to be on the DeKalb County School Board.

The answer is 403 people.

That's right, FOUR-HUNDRED-AND-THREE...for 6 part time jobs that only pay $18,000 a year.

READ | Full list of applicants for DeKalb School Board seats
MORE | Continuing coverage of DeKalb school issues

That's the number Governor Nathan Deal's office provided to 11 Alive News just after the 5 p.m. deadline for applications on Wednesday.

State "overwhelmed" with applications for empty DeKalb School seats

State "overwhelmed" with applications for empty DeKalb School seats

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Georgia Board of Education member Kenneth Mason admits he's a bit "overwhelmed".

As of Monday afternoon, 150 people had applied for six vacant seats on the DeKalb County School Board and the deadline for more applications isn't until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Some were from other parts of Georgia and at least one from out-of-state, but whoever is picked will have to live in the school district to be represented.

"Business leaders, community activists, parents, concerned people who want to be part of the solution," is how Mason described the list to 11Alive News on Tuesday.

Mason is chairman of a nomination panel named last week by Governor Nathan Deal to begin picking replacements for the six DeKalb members the governor suspended.

DeKalb School Board's court fight sparks outrage

DeKalb School Board's court fight sparks outrage

ATLANTA, Ga. -- A federal judge in Atlanta promised Friday to rule quickly on whether Georgia's governor has the constitutional authority to remove elected school board members from office.

The DeKalb County School Board is suing the governor, claiming that the Georgia law empowering him to remove members of the DeKalb school board is unconstitutional. The board's attorney argued the key points of case at a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story Friday afternoon.

There is outrage on both sides of the case.

The school board members are in limbo while their case is being considered, they are powerless to act to try to save the school system's accreditation until the state law is settled because the governor has already suspended six of the nine members pending the judge's ruling. The judge is letting them stay in office for now, but ordered them not to take any official action on any matter until he rules.

Panel accepting DeKalb school board applications

Panel accepting DeKalb school board applications

ATLANTA -- Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has announced a panel tasked with replacing suspended DeKalb County School Board members is accepting applications.

MORE | Continuing coverage of DeKalb school issues

In a statement Wednesday, Deal said a panel he assembled will accept applications through 5 p.m. on March 6. Deal last week said he would sign an executive order suspending six of nine DeKalb County School Board members at the recommendation of the state board of education.

Deal announced the suspensions Monday although federal judge issued an order temporarily preventing him from replacing board members until after a hearing on Friday.

Gov. Deal signing order removing 6 DeKalb school board members

Gov. Deal signing order removing 6 DeKalb school board members

ATLANTA - Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday he'll remove six of the nine members of the DeKalb County School Board, but a federal court order now has to be addressed.

Deal said in a news conference that he was naming six persons to determine who should replace the outgoing board members.

"The stakes in this case are high; the future of almost 100,000 students hangs in the balance," Deal said in a statement.

"Therefore, I have accepted the unanimous recommendation of the State Board of Education to suspend six members of the DeKalb school board. I have met with Superintendent Michael Thurmond, and I believe he can play a vital role in getting the system back on track. I look forward to a positive working relationship with Superintendent Thurmond on behalf of the children of DeKalb County."

DeKalb County School Board elects new leader

DeKalb County School Board elects new leader

DECATUR, Ga. -- The DeKalb County School Board elected Dr. Melvin Johnson as chairperson of the embattled school board on Wednesday afternoon during an executive session. 

Before being named chairman, Johnson, a retired DeKalb County Deputy Superintendent, represented District 6 which includes feeder schools to both Stone Mountain and Stephenson high schools. 

Early Wednesday, DeKalb County's controversial school board members, faced with the possibility that Gov. Nathan Deal may remove them from office, have suddenly decided to fight him.

The board members have been taking steps to sue Gov. Deal to try to stop the process that could lead to their removal.

Their lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Fulton Superior Court, just a block from the Georgia State Capitol, claims that the state law empowering the governor in certain circumstances to replace elected school board members violates the state constitution.