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CSD Board Statement on SB 53

Click here to view the full statement from the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education on the Veto of SB 53.


City Schools of Decatur Board of Education Statement on SB 53 Veto

On Friday, May 7, Governor Kemp vetoed Senate Bill 53. City Schools of Decatur (CSD) thanks the Governor for taking this action to prevent a detrimental and unconstitutional bill from becoming law.

“We opposed SB 53 because we believe it is important for all children in the City of Decatur to attend City of Decatur Schools, as they do now, and SB 53 would have changed that,” said Board Chair Lewis Jones. SB 53 would have created two Decaturs: one for children attending our schools, and another for children not allowed to. It would be especially unfair to those forced to pay taxes to support schools their children could not attend.

In addition to preserving the fabric and identity of our small community, there are many practical reasons to keep the city and school boundaries aligned. Separating the city from its schools would create serious inefficiencies for no reason.

The proponents of SB 53 have stated incorrectly that SB 53 was focused only on commercial annexations. If that was the intent, the effort misfired, because the actual text of the bill went much further. The bill would have prohibited
any adjustment to City Schools of Decatur’s boundaries from any annexation involving fewer than 2,000 students. All conceivable residential annexations were included, including individual half-lots. The only exception was for annexations expressly approved by the DeKalb County School Board (DCSB) through a formal intergovernmental agreement. Although described as a “cooperative process,” by giving DCSB power to approve or disapprove any annexation, the intergovernmental agreement exception actually removed any incentive for DCSB to cooperate.

We could have addressed these concerns and helped to negotiate an appropriate bill if we had been informed about it and included in the discussions leading to its development, but that did not occur. Nobody from DCSB or the DeKalb legislative delegation ever contacted CSD about the bill. Having been excluded from the discussions leading to its development, we were left with no option but to request a veto.