The Warren County Board of Education held a meeting this past Monday.
At least they tried to hold a meeting. A five-member board can't actually do anything official when most of its members don't attend.
In this particular case, a majority of members were absent. That's because they are ex-members.
Monday's meeting was attended only by board chairwoman Gwendolyn Tucker and Vice-Chairman Randy Morris. Clara Roberts, Cecil Brown and Charles Culver wanted to be at the meeting, mind you. In fact, they showed up together, after the meeting had already started, and tried to sit at the grownups' table.
Tucker banished them to the audience. Thanks to Gov. Sonny Perdue, all three are now merely spectators.
On Aug. 6, Perdue removed the gang of three from the board of the system they'd been trying to destroy since January 2009 when their majority took office.
Why do we care around here? Well, other than the fact that I'm obligated to follow up on a topic I've covered before, it's also important because one of our folks is in charge of that school system.
Carole Jean Carey, a product of Columbia County schools, a former school system administrator and an Appling resident, is superintendent in Warren County.
She is also a candidate for sainthood for not retiring in April in the midst of this mess. She had worked for a decade to improve a desperately struggling public school system, one that had been damaged by years of white flight to a segregationist academy, and she refused to leave her work in the hands of people who would destroy it.
Carey had made amazing progress in pulling the system up by its bootstraps. But then came the election of November 2008, when a surge of Obama voters brought the gang of three to power. Overnight, achievement took a back seat to payback and to consolidation of a black-oriented power structure.
Carey had worked to reverse the years of neglect and improve the school system to give those white students a greater reason to return to public schools. The gang of three wanted them, and any white teachers, to stay away.
Their actions included such things as telling a prospective teacher he'd be a poor candidate because he'd served in the military - a violation of federal law - and refusing to sign their ethics policy.
Such activities caught the attention of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. After investigations and visits to the system, SACS threatened to remove accreditation from Warren County schools.
In addition to shredding so much of the system's progress, that would have made the graduates of Warren County High School ineligible for HOPE scholarships.
Of the few Warren students who go to college, most are black and many are poor. Those who make it to secondary education rely heavily on HOPE.
Thus, the actions of the gang of three would have devastated black students - all in a misguided effort to increase black political power.
Fortunately, an administrative law judge heard complaints against the gang of three and recommended their removal; Perdue agreed, and booted them from office.
It's now a recovery and salvage operation, with Carey partnering with the two remaining board members who couldn't even take a vote Monday because they didn't have a quorum.
They'll solve that problem soon, though, by appointing three new trustees. It would be an improvement if they just picked three people at random from the phone book, but they'll take much more care than that.
Like the disciples of old, Carey could have kicked the dust of Warren County from her feet and walked away. She didn't, and that is a credit to her dedication.
It's not over yet. The system still has a tough road ahead in undoing the damage the gang of three attempted and in persuading SACS to let them keep accreditation.
I'm sure Carole Jean would appreciate your prayers. And maybe a cheer or two.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)
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