Ousted DeKalb school board member fights to get job back

Ousted DeKalb school board member fights to get job back

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An ousted DeKalb County School Board member says she didn't deserve to lose her job.  Gov. Nathan Deal removed Dr. Pamela Speaks and five other board members back in February after the district was placed on probation.

Speaks said that she was humiliated, frustrated and angered by her removed. She said it tarnished her 30-year reputation in education.

Speaks and five other board members lost their jobs under a new Georgia law that gave Deal the power to remove them once the district was placed on probation.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools said that the board was dysfunctional and made irresponsible financial decisions.

Speaks told a judge moments on Thursday that she's being victimized and has never been told what she specifically did wrong.

"I have not been told what transgressions I, Pamela Speaks, committed. Yet, I was pronounced guilty and suspended from the DeKalb Board of education. I asked where is my due process? I am humiliated, frustrated, and angry with the predicament I find myself in," Speaks said.

The attorney general's office charged that the board failed to act after SACS, put them on notice for several problems in 2011 and twice in 2012.

Speaks said that she attended mediation sessions and talked to individual board members after being told that the program had an issue with the chain of command.

However, AdvancED Georgia says Speaks and the five other board members did nothing. In fact, the accrediting agency was critical of Speaks because she was the chair of the policy committee at one time,. and was in a position to change things.

"I think one of the limitations, quite frankly, professionally in my opinion is you failed to understand your duty as a board member and carrying it out. Often times you were not fully aware, as you should have been," said Dr. Mark Elgart, AdvancED's president.

The judge will rule on whether Speaks get her job back in the coming weeks.

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