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Groups to meet with Deal over DeKalb Co. School Board

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ATLANTA -

A panel has narrowed down the candidates for the DeKalb County School Board to a dozen and later on Monday, the Georgia NAACP, the Legislative Black Caucus and others plan to meet with the governor to discuss their concerns about the situation.

"I can understand the frustration that parents and taxpayers have with our school district. There have been major challenges, major problems," said Interim DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond.

Probably the most serious issue the DeKalb County School District faces is accreditation probation. They were placed on that status by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in December. They were given one year to clean up their act. Since then, the governor has cleaned house -- suspending six members of the school board. A panel appointed by the governor has been going through a list of possible candidates from about 400 applications.

At a town hall meeting over the weekend in Lithonia, residents were concerned about the future and the impact of the school board drama.

"I have three kids and they're in elementary and high school. I really want to understand what the challenge was, what school improvements are going to be," said parent Troy Smith.

"If we lose accreditation, our property values, and the businesses will leave the area. that's devastating," said parent Carolyn Canty.

Meanwhile, Thurmond is talking directly to parents. He's trying to ease their fears, and convince them that better days are ahead.

"I'm not going to let you down. We will be successful," said Thurmond.

But for some parents in a Dunwoody neighborhood, it's too little too late.

"My children are in private school because of the shenanigans in Stone Mountain," said concerned parent Adrienne Duncan.

On Monday, the Georgia NAACP, the Legislative Black Caucus and activists plan to meet with Governor Nathan Deal at 2 p.m. to discuss the suspension of the school board members. The groups say they're concerned about the governor having power to remove any elected official from office.

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