Federal Judge Richard W. Story has signed a temporary restraining order to keep Gov. Nathan Deal from removing any of the DeKalb County members until a scheduled hearing takes place on Tuesday.
Story denied that action, however. "The implementation of Governor Deal's decisions in this regard is hereby enjoined to preserve the status quo until after this Court has held a hearing on the matter," according to Story's order.
In layman's terms, Deal can make a decision to suspend or remove a member, but he can't implement his actions until after Story's hearing.
Court documents obtained by CBS Atlanta News said the emergency motion was made in light of the governor's announced intention to take action Monday against six school board members on the recommendation of the State Board of Education.
The school board's attorney writes, "To be clear, the most important thing to plaintiffs is to be heard by the Court prior to Governor Deal acting to suspend them."
The DeKalb district argues the state law allowing the governor to remove board members is unconstitutional.
In the filing, the DeKalb board has asked that the hearing scheduled for Tuesday be rescheduled for March 1 so counsel for both parties could use the extra three days to thoroughly brief the important constitutional issues presented in this case.
Deal has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Monday. It was not immediately clear if he will cancel it based on the injunction request filed Friday.
"I think that the overriding and primary consideration has to be what is best for DeKalb County and for the schools and for all of the kids who are studying right now," said Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, who favors removal of the six school board members.
However, some in the DeKalb delegation said the governor should not get involved.
"I think the best course of action in my view would be to let this play out," said Rep. Billy Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain. "Let's see if, in fact, it could be turned around. Let's see if this board can be responsive and go from there."
On Friday, Betsy Parks and two other parents delivered a petition with more than 1,800 signatures. The petition urges the governor to remove the board members. Parks said she has now started a second petition that asks the school board to drop its lawsuit against the state.
"This is a huge opportunity for DeKalb to come together," said Parks. "It's a huge opportunity to really reflect on what the community values which is our children and educating our children."
Story wants to hear the argument between the two parties. He scheduled the hearing for Friday, March 1, at 2:30 p.m. in courtroom 2105 at the federal courthouse in Atlanta.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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