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Educators' group calls for BOE resignations

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The 2,800-member Clayton County Education Association (CCEA) is ready for a behavioral change on the Clayton County Board of Education.

The association's executive board has seen school board members erupt into verbal assaults against each other and district officials. They have reviewed the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' (SACS) report, which called the school board "dysfunctional," and recommends revoking the school system's accreditation.

On Tuesday, CCEA's executive board announced it wants resignations from nearly half of the nine-member board of education.

"Due to the findings of this [SACS] report and action by certain board members, CCEA respectfully calls for the immediate resignation of board members, Lois Baines-Hunter, Norreese Haynes, Rod Johnson and Sandra Scott," said CCEA President Sid Chapman. "CCEA further calls upon the parents, other community leaders, and constituents to hold [Clayton County Board of Education] members, in their respective districts, accountable for their actions."

Chapman explained his organization is only asking for the resignations of those board members, because it believes those elected officials were the only ones mentioned in the SACS report. The report did not identify board members by name, though.

Chapman said the four "unprofessional" members have occasionally acted like "children engaging in a school-yard brawl" during board meetings. He also accused Johnson, Haynes and Scott of alleged micromanagement, based on items listed in the SACS report. He accused Johnson of allegedly voting in favor of promotions related to the school board member's wife, Celeste.

"We need people who are professionals, and can conduct themselves in a professional manner," Chapman said.

The sentiment of calling for board member resignations was briefly shared across the street, at the Clayton County Retired Educator Association's meeting at the Jonesboro First United Methodist Church. During that meeting, Millie Sharkey, the treasurer for the retired educators group, called on other former educators from Clayton, Henry, Fayette, Spalding and Butts counties to join a march for Clayton County students on March 1.

The goal of the march is to pressure board members to resign from their positions. Sharkey said "thousands and thousands" of people need to show up for the march to make sure the message is heard. "It's a hot opportunity to show the school board members they need to do the right thing," Sharkey said. "We can't afford to lose our accreditation."

Johnson, Haynes, Baines-Hunter and school board attorney Glenn Brock could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. Scott declined to comment on the matter.