School board clashes reflect changes facing city councils, other bodies

Clara Roberts didn't even want to enter politics, but she had served on the boards of several…

Georgia (May 31, 2011) — Clara Roberts didn't even want to enter politics, but she had served on the boards of several service organizations when friends convinced her to run in 2007.


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So, it was distressing to her when she wound up the focus of a controversy that put her name in newspapers across the state until the governor took the unusual step of removing her from office.

"I still don't know what I did," she said.

The retired teacher from tiny Warren County is not alone. Hers was one of six school boards in Georgia facing loss of accreditation because of "governance," or bickering. They're in big cities and small.

Many people outside of those communities may be breathing a sigh of relief, but those circumstances aren't unique. And they're not even limited to school boards.

From city councils to Congress, newcomers are changing the way things have been done, and those resisting the changes are fighting back. Sparks are flying. …

SACS has been accused of defending the education establishment and the status quo, according to Kerwin Swint, political science professor at Kennesaw State University. He's watched the Cobb County School Board tangle with SACS over governance.

"Some board members want to be independent of the administration, and that's created conflicts," Swint said. "There are some members of the administration that are defensive, combative." …


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