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Attorney: Chairman Didn't Violate School Board Policy

Before Davis Nelson ran for his seat, an update to a second policy held that only persons serving on the governing boards of private schools can't run for the county board of education.

Although one school board policy seems to state otherwise, officials with the say Davis Nelson did not violate the board’s policy when he ran for his seat while employed by a private school.

Board Policy ABCB states that, “No person employed by or serving on the governing body of a private educational institution shall be eligible to serve as a member of the County Board of Education.”

However, Boyd Pettit, the school system’s attorney, said state law was updated in 2010 and Board Policy BHA dealing with conflicts of interest was updated with a provision stating, “No Board member shall serve on the governing body of a private elementary or secondary educational institution,” to reflect the state’s change.

That update occurred before Nelson qualified to run for office, Pettit said.

“When Davis qualified to run, he was clearly authorized from his employment perspective to serve,” Pettit said.

Which policy is better? Should private school employees be allowed to hold public school board seats? Are private and public education competing interests? Tell us in the comments.

Nelson was of in January 2011 and, in that position, is employed by Excel Christian Academy Inc., officials with the corporation said.

“That was cleared before I ever ran for office and, according to the 2010 policy and state law, I am legal like everyone else to serve on the Bartow County Board of Education,” Nelson said.

State law sets the minimum requirements for board of education members, and Pettit said that local board policies cannot be stricter than state policy.

“And, what the current law says instead of being employed by it says serving on the governing body of,” Pettit said.

Cartersville Patch was alerted to the possible policy violation in an email with a link to Policy ABCB. This isn’t the first time Nelson has been questioned about having a conflict of interest since elected in 2010.  

In September, board member at a school board meeting that Davis had signed off on an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan Review for the site of the . Davis signed the form as the Bartow County supervisor of the Coosa River Soil and Water Conservation District.

Matt Shultz February 01, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Local boards can set more stringent requirements than the state for graduation...Sounds like the school attorney's opinion to me. Something will have to be done to address policy ABCB.
Katherine M February 01, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Whether it's legal or not it IS a conflict of interest. This man has a very checkered past with the county school system and it seems like he's just doing all this to stroke his own ego.
Bill Thrasher February 02, 2012 at 12:10 AM
It may be legal, but it doesn't pass the **smell test**
String Bean February 02, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Wow!!! I think these poll results speak for themselves!
Katherine M February 03, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Davis Nelson and board attorney Boyd Pettit have been friends since high school. What did you expect? It's Boyd's job to protect the board.

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