DeKalb County is in the middle of big changes - a new police chief starts in April, Gov. Nathan Deal just removed most of its county school board and the school system faces losing its accreditation.
So when County Commissioner Lee May decided to have a meeting for residents to ask questions on Saturday, much of the concern was over schools. But May said he believes the schools are headed in the right direction after new Superintendent Michael Thurmond was recently appointed.
"I have every confidence in Michael Thurmond," May told the crowd. "I think he was the right selection."
Carolyn Canty was one resident who asked for an update on the schools. She is also one of more than 400 residents who applied for one of the six open school board spots. She said she saw firsthand why the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools put DeKalb County Schools on probation because of governance issues with its leaders.
"I witnessed that dysfunctionality," Canty said. "Some of the business of the board wasn't being completed - it's a very antagonistic, very intimidating environment. The public didn't feel that as if they had the opportunity or they were being heard. I think it's important to the constituency."
She said she knows what would be one of the first things she'd do to change the direction of the board.
"One would be to provide my skills and my knowledge in terms of organizational cohesiveness," Canty said. "Getting the board to function as if it were a team and not these individuals silos working for their own interests."
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