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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

APS board members join hands, sing songs, promise to play nice

After weeks of public bickering and power struggles, the Atlanta school board yesterday agreed to shake hands and hug it out. And to think all it took was a lawsuit and the threat of losing the school system's accreditation!

Board members followed a four-hour sitdown in front of a Fulton County Superior Court judge with an emergency evening meeting to elect new leadership.

Per the judge's consent order (PDF), Chairman Khaatim El and Vice-Chair Yolanda Johnson stepped down from their leadership positions. Both members helped stage the September coup that removed leaders favored by the business community — and which critics (and the state attorney general) said violated the system's charter. (The judge ruled yesterday that the move was, in fact, lawful.)

El, surprisingly, was then re-elected as chairman. Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, the former vice-chair who was booted from second-in-command during the coup, was re-elected to that post — reportedly to her chagrin. (Per the judge's orders, each faction on the school board was required to be represented in leadership positions.) Kristina Torres also has a blow-by-blow of last night's board elections.

Said El in a statement released last night: "With the Board's reaffirmation tonight and the actions of the Court this afternoon, the Board asserts its commitment to ending the pervasive culture of secrecy that plagued the Board previously and to proceed with frankness, transparency, and dignity toward the critical business facing the District."

Among said business: Cooperating with state and federal investigators looking into the cheating scandal that earned APS national headlines; preparing for an upcoming visit from a school accreditation agency; and finding a suitable successor for Superintendent Beverly Hall, who on Saturday announced she wouldn't seek a new contract.

All of which sounds like a bunch of fun!

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