By John Schaffner

The Atlanta school systems’ Ethics Committee has determined that complaints lodged by two Buckhead women against five members of the Board of Education are worthy of further investigation.

That information was in an e-mail sent to the Buckhead Reporter by Lisa Weldon, who has been active in the public schools for years, served on a task force with Board of Education member Nancy Meister and was instrumental in improvements at Sutton Middle School and North Atlanta High School.

Weldon also reported in her e-mail that the Ethics Committee decided Nov. 18 that it will meet again in two weeks “to further review the complaints.”

On Nov. 4, Kim Kahwach and Allison Adair, two women who have children in APS schools in Buckhead, filed ethics complaints against five members of the board who earlier this year wrested the leadership positions from the other four members.

The five members are board chairman Khaatim Sheerer El, vice chairwoman Yolanda Johnson and board members Meister, Brenda Muhammad and Courtney English.

In September ,the five board members, in a series of 5-4 votes, changed board procedures and replaced the previously elected board chairwoman LaChandra Butler Burks and vice chairwoman Cecily Harsch-Kinnane with El as chairman  and Johnson as vice chairwoman.

In addition to Burks and Harsch-Kinnane, the board minority includes members Reuben McDaniel III and Emmett Johnson.

The next hearing by the Ethics Committee on these complaints will come after a hearing Nov. 23 in Fulton Superior Court of a lawsuit filed on Oct. 28 by the four-member board minority seeking to overturn the September actions by the five-member majority and to reinstate Burks and Harsch-Kinnane.

At an earlier court hearing Oct. 29, Superior Court Judge John J.Goger declined to temporarily reinstate the board’s former leaders, saying he was not persuaded “at this time” that their replacement was illegal.

The final hearing in the case is set for Nov. 23.

In an interesting side activity to the ethics complaints and court case, the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, announced just an hour before the Ethics Committee meeting Nov. 18 that the executive committee had voted to “suspend” the organization’s education committee—at least temporarily—largely because of apparent conflicts between members of that committee regarding the APS board.

Glenn Delk, chairman of the BCN’s education committee, is representing the five-member school board majority in the court case involving the lawsuit. He also is named in the ethics complaints lodged against the five board members by Kahwach, a member of the same BCN education committee.

BCN president Jim King announced the suspension of the committee and said the BCN for now “will address as a full board anything that deals with APS issues.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.