Political Notes — Trump still leads in Georgia; school takeover amendment losing

[private]Donald Trump retained his state lead over Hillary Clinton in two late-breaking polls of Georgia voters as the last week of the presidential race neared an end.

Trump had a one-point lead, 45-44 percent, in an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, with Libertarian Gary Johnson holding 8 percent support.  With Johnson excluded,Trump’s advantage was 47-46 percent.

A local survey by the Republican polling combo Landmark/Rosetta Stone for WSB-TV had Trump at 48-46 percent, with 4 percent of the vote going to Johnson.

“We are seeing less volatility or movement in Georgia than is being seen elsewhere,” said Lankmark’s Mark Rountree. “Trump has consistently led Georgia by a few points all year, except for a short term tie right after the Democratic national convention.”

The same poll showed Sen. Johnny Isakson leading Democrat Jim Barksdale, 49.6 percent to 39.6 percent, with Libertarian Allen Buckley at 5.1 percent.  Isakson is very close to the 50 percent mark needed to avoid a runoff.

According to the poll, Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District amendment is losing by a 58-29 percent margin.  There have been four polls in recent weeks of this issue; in two of them, support of the amendment was at 34 percent, while the other two had support at 29 percent.

Dooly County school board could be ousted

The state Board of Education is unanimously recommending that Gov. Deal suspend all five members of the Dooly County school board.

As reported by Maggie Lee in the Macon Telegraph, the panel made the recommendation after a Thursday hearing on the troubled school system:

Much of the seven hours of testimony focused on the lower-than-average scores accreditation agency AdvancED gave Dooly schools on governance and leadership.

After a visit by evaluators in April 2015, AdvancED reported several challenges: an assistant superintendent working as an acting superintendent for months; unfilled jobs; complaints of a lack of trust among staff, parents and the community; and allegations of school board members interfering in day-to-day management of the school system. . . .

Dooly’s scores were in the bottom 5 percent of the roughly 2,000 institutions AdvancED evaluated that year, said company President and CEO Mark Elgart during his testimony Thursday.

The report listed other concerns, such as the lack of a way to recruit and keep good staff, and the lack of a plan for improving conditions.

In July 2015, AdvancED sent the Dooly County school system a letter indicating that the system had been put “under review,” which is the last step before losing accreditation. That downgrade is part of what triggered the state hearing.

Current state law empowers Deal to suspend and replace all five members of the Dooly County board, just as he did in 2013 when he ousted six members of the DeKalb County school board.

The state Board of Education’s action is a remember that even without the Opportunity School District amendment, the state still has plenty of leeway to step in and take action where local school boards aren’t getting the job done.

New Dispute Resolution members

The Supreme Court of Georgia has appointed Court of Appeals Judge Amanda H. Mercier and Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane C. Barwick as the newest members of the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution.

The Supreme Court created the commission to administer a statewide alternative dispute resolution program.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Donald Trump , Dooly County school board , Georgia poll , Hillary Clinton , Opportunity School District