Atlanta school board candidate sues district over election job rule


An Atlanta school board candidate sued Atlanta Public Schools and the board members she hopes to join over a rule that bars employees of other local school districts from serving on the board. 

Patreece Hutcherson is running in the November election for the Atlanta Board of Education District 6 seat, which represents south Atlanta. 

The ninth-grade school counselor, who is employed by the Douglas County Board of Education, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against APS, superintendent Meria Carstarphen, all nine current school board members, and Rhonda Dauphin Johnson, Atlanta’s election superintendent and municipal clerk. 

The suit takes issue with the school district’s charter which states that a person cannot be an employee of APS or “any other local board of education” to qualify for election to the Atlanta school board. 

The municipal clerk’s office informed Hutcherson that if she won the election she would be required to resign her Douglas County position, according to the suit. 

Carstarphen confirmed to Hutcherson that the requirement cannot be waived because it is a part of the state legislature-approved charter.

Hutcherson cannot afford to quit her job should she win. The suit notes that she doesn’t supervise any other employees in her job and maintains “there is little potential” for a conflict of interest. 

Atlanta school board members make $15,170 a year. 

“The policy requirements impose an unjustified and unconstitutional procedural barrier to citizens holding office on the Atlanta Board of Education,” the suit states. 

Hutcherson has support from the Georgia Association of Educators, which is providing her legal counsel. 

“Georgia’s teachers are always, and must continue to be, engaged in the political process. And like Ms. Hutcherson, they are uniquely situated to provide informed and effective leadership for, in this case, Atlanta’s Board of Education. This restriction just makes no sense and illegally restricts local educators’ ability to become part of the solution,” said Mike McGonigle, the association’s legal services director, in a written statement. 

APS spokeswoman Pat St. Claire declined to comment on pending litigation. 

Hutcherson wants the court to declare the requirement unconstitutional and to prohibit the district from enforcing the requirement. She also seeks damages and attorney fees.

In other APS news:


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Differentiated instruction: Snake oil or coconut oil?
Differentiated instruction: Snake oil or coconut oil?

I wrote a column a few years ago on differentiated instruction, calling it the coconut oil of education because of all its fabled curative powers: “It can reduce cholesterol, moisturize your skin and meet the needs of all students, no matter where they fall in the performance panorama. And make a tasty pie crust, too.&rdquo...
Marietta schools shake off snow, return to service
Marietta schools shake off snow, return to service

Marietta has shaken loose of wintry weather’s grip, and schools there will re-open Tuesday on the normal schedule. The city school district in Cobb County closed early Friday as a snowstorm threatened the area, and did not open Monday after it left roads slick and parts of the county without power. Other districts to the south, such as Decatur...
Metro Atlanta school districts announce Tuesday plans after winter storm
Metro Atlanta school districts announce Tuesday plans after winter storm

Paulding County School District will remain closed Tuesday after a winter storm caused icy roads and still-unresolved water outages. The school district is one of about a half dozen that closed Monday in the aftermath of a winter storm; other area districts reported they will resume classes Tuesday. Paulding announced the news on social media shortly...
DeKalb mistakenly rehires teacher who threatened students with deportation
DeKalb mistakenly rehires teacher who threatened students with deportation

A teacher forced to resign after students said she threatened them with deportation after President Donald Trump’s election win in 2016 was rehired as a substitute teacher, district officials confirmed Friday. Diane Clark retired “in lieu of termination” on Nov. 28, 2016, weeks after students said she told them if they continued...
Georgia colleges to accept students from Puerto Rico
Georgia colleges to accept students from Puerto Rico

Ten Georgia colleges and universities will allow students from Puerto Rico, currently displaced by Hurricane Maria, to study here next semester, with the Puerto Rican institutions receiving the tuition. “This partnership means that Puerto Rico’s private college students will not suffer a delay in their studies,” said Georgia Independent...
More Stories