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Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 6:00am

DeKalb Schools Face Key Hearing

DeKalb County school board members are preparing for a key hearing that could determine whether Georgia's governor makes sweeping changes in the school system's leadership.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in December put the suburban Atlanta system on probation and threatened to revoke its accreditation.

A Thursday hearing with the state board of education is crucial for the system because it's likely to produce a recommendation to Gov. Nathan Deal. Under a 2011 law, Deal can suspend the local board if the state school board recommends it.

The school system is also expected to discuss selection of a new leader this week.

School board Chairman Eugene Walker said Monday he will remain on the board but will step out of the leadership role.

Walker's board colleague chose him as chairman last year. But during their annual vote this year the board wasn't able to turn out a majority for a new chairman, so Walker remained chair by default. The nine-member board is set to meet again Wednesday to try again to choose a leader.

Walker's critics have said he's at least partly to blame for the school system's accreditation problems.