Sponsored by District 80 State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, House Bill 979 passed the legislature last week and was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal. The bill kept DeKalb’s district lines the same, but removed the two at-large district seats.
“The reduction of the school board was already a law in 2011,” said Jacobs. “It was supposed to go into effect in 2013, but was extended to 2015.”
Jacobs said legislators were at a deadline to set the districts or otherwise it would have upset the upcoming election. Jacobs praised the reduction in size of the school board. He said smaller boards tend to be more manageable and are optimal for good governance, with fewer board members in the mix.
“I think it’s important to note the legislation was necessary because the local delegation and general assembly failed to pass a redistricting map of seven districts in sufficient time prior to qualifying,” said Jacobs.
“We had to do something in order to allow the DeKalb Board of Elections to move forward with qualifying candidates in the seven school board seats.”
Qualifying began Monday and will last through noon Friday.
The fee is $540 for the school board. Jacobs said it would have been terrible for the qualifying period to happen and there be complete and utter confusion as to how the election should be administered.
He added the county can now go forward with continuity and certainty, especially given the recent decision by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools taking the district off of probation.
“I don’t know how SACS would have viewed it, but certainly it is a confusing, uncertain and untenable situation in a time when we need stability and continuity,” said Jacobs.