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DeKalb School Board member says superintendent vote won’t occur at April 17 meeting

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DeKalb School Board member says superintendent vote won’t occur at April 17 meeting

Sole finalist for DeKalb County School District superintendent Dr. Devon Horton answered questions from a moderator and the audience during a town hall at Chamblee High School on Wed., April 12, 2023. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb County School Board meets today, April 17, but the board won’t be voting on a contract for superintendent finalist Dr. Devon Horton, Board Member Allyson Gevertz said.

Gevertz made the announcement in a Facebook post.

“Of note, the superintendent finalist vote is not (and has never been) on today’s agenda,” Gevertz said.

In a follow-up text with Decaturish, Gevertz said the vote should take place later this week.

“Hopefully Wednesday,” she said. “I think notice may come out today, still finalizing.”

Attempts to reach other school board members were unsuccessful. To see the agenda for today’s meeting, click here.

The school board announced Dr. Horton as the finalist on April 4 and there is a 14-day waiting period before his contract can be approved. Today, April 17, marks the 14th day after the board announced Horton as the finalist.

Dr. Horton is currently the superintendent of the Evanston/Skokie School District 65. If the school board votes to approve his contract, he will be replacing interim Superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley, who took over when the school board abruptly fired Cheryl Watson-Harris last spring.

There’s been a concerted effort to get the board to jettison Dr. Horton and keep Dr. Tinsley.

Dr. Joyce Morley made her opinions known to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Tinsley has been openly supported by former board chair Vickie Turner as well. State Sen. Emanuel Jones also released a statement, before Horton was announced, endorsing Tinsley remaining as superintendent.

On Friday, state school Superintendent Richard Woods voiced his support for keeping Tinsley in a letter to the board. Woods is a Republican, and the local Republican Party is also vocally opposed to hiring him.

If the board were to reverse course and vote against hiring Horton, it could potentially expose the board to more litigation. In 2020, the board selected Rudy Crew as a finalist for the job, only to decide against approving his contract, a decision that proved costly. Crew filed suit and in the end, the district paid him a $750,000 settlement. In his lawsuit, Crew cited remarks by Dr. Morley about his late wife being white.

Dr. Horton has faced questions about his work in Evanston, which he has been answering in a series of town halls with parents. On Saturday, Decaturish reported that Horton formed a consulting firm and did work for it while serving as superintendent of the district.

During a town hall on April 14, Horton told Decaturish that his employers knew about his work at the time.  However, the work was not listed on statement of economic interest forms filed with the state of Illinois. Records also indicate that the work was done on days school was in session in District 65.

To read that story, click here. To read our write-up of the first town hall, click here. To read more about his work in Evanston, click here.

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