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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.

3 DeKalb schools among 2012 AP Merit Schools

3 DeKalb schools among 2012 AP Merit Schools

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Three DeKalb County high schools are among the 2012 AP Merit Schools.

The honor is given annually to U.S. high schools where at least 20 percent of students take Advanced Placement exams. Of those tests, at least half must earn a passing score of 3 or higher.

DeKalb's AP Merit Schools are Chamblee, Dunwoody and Lakeside.

The College Board, which gives AP exams every year, reported Wednesday that Georgia is the 12th state in the nation for the percentage of seniors earning passing scores on AP tests. More than 41 percent of Georgia's seniors took at least one AP exam in 2012, compared to the U.S. average of 32.4 percent.

"Georgia's students continue to outperform most of their peers throughout the country on Advanced Placement exams," State Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Barge said in a statement. "These results show that Georgia's students can compete against any students in the nation."

Death of key witness could jeopardize DeKalb school corruption trial

Death of key witness could jeopardize DeKalb school corruption trial

DEKALB COUNTY, GA - A funeral at a Lilburn church marked the passing of Cointa Moody on Tuesday.

According to the medical examiner, the former school system employee died of natural causes.

Now there's a question about whether her death could jeopardize one of DeKalb County's biggest open corruption cases.

"I remember when I was a prosecutor, unfortunately there were cases that had to be dismissed because the state's key witness was no longer available to provide testimony in the trial," former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan told 11 Alive News.

Morgan now represents architect Tony Pope, who was indicted along with three others on bribery and corruption charges in 2010.

Those others included Pope's ex-wife and former DeKalb County School Chief Operating Officer Pat Reid, former School Superintendent Crawford Lewis and Reid's personal secretary, Cointa Moody.

Student petition to oust school board members gains momentum

Student petition to oust school board members gains momentum

ATLANTA-- One DeKalb County high school sophomore's frustration prompted her to launch a petition asking the governor to remove all the school board members.  It appears hundreds agree with her.

Grace McKenna launched her petition just days ago on change.org and already she has received more signatures that she expected.

"I had no idea it would become this big. I just thought students from my school would sign it," said McKenna.

December 17, 2012 the Southern Association of colleges and schools released a scathing report about the DeKalb County School District placing it on probation.

RELATED | DeKalb School Board comes under D.A.'s scrutiny

DeKalb School Board comes under D.A.'s scrutiny

DECATUR, Ga. -- DeKalb County Schools were put on probation this week by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but they won't be the only ones looking into the school board.

The board is accused of mismanaging money and behaving unethically. A SACS report shows the board put the district $12 million in debt for new textbooks that were never purchased.

RELATED | DeKalb County Schools under investigation

Now the DeKalb District Attorney's office will have to figure out where that money was spent, who spent it, and whether there was any criminal activity.

DeKalb Schools put on probation through 2013

DeKalb Schools put on probation through 2013

DECATUR, Ga. -- The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has placed DeKalb County Schools on probation through 2013.

The accrediting agency held a news conference at noon Monday following an intense investigation.

MORE | Read the SACS report here

"We want to see sustained progress," SACS president Mark Elgart said of the school district during the press conference. He added that SACS believes it will take more than a year to reach that goal, as "there are no proper checks and balances to explain where the money went."

92% of DeKalb students pass Ga. High School Writing Test

92% of DeKalb students pass Ga. High School Writing Test

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Nearly 92 percent of high school juniors and seniors in DeKalb County passed the Georgia High School Writing Test in 2012.

DeKalb's 91.7 percent is very close to Georgia's 93 percent, up from 91 percent in 2011 and 88 percent in 2007, when the more rigorous test was rolled out.

Students must pass the annual writing assessment to receive a high school diploma. A perfect score is 350; a student must earn at least 200 points to pass. They may take the test multiple times during their junior and senior years.

A breakdown for each DeKalb County high school is as follows:

Arabia Mountain HS
299 students took the test
98.7 percent passed the test

Cedar Grove HS
186 students took the test
89.8 percent passed the test

Chamblee HS
316 students took the test
97.2 percent passed the test