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Most Bibb School Board Members Skip Legal Talk | Education

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Most Bibb School Board Members Skip Legal Talk

Some who attended a presentation by a Georgia senior assistant attorney general say the almost 90-minute long meeting was worth while.

Assistant AG Stefan Ritter gave the crowd a rundown of the state's open records and open meetings laws.

Ritter explained his office runs a mediation program to that notifies local agencies of their obligations, and how they can comply with sunshine laws.

Superintendent Romain Dallemand, each of his deputy superintendents, the district's attorney Randy Howard, and board members Lynn Farmer and Tom Hudson attended. Board member Wanda West showed up after the meeting had concluded.

"I am disappointed more members aren't here because this was aimed at the board," said Ritter.

Farmer said Dallemand invited board members by e-mail last week, and board members with full-time jobs were likely not able to break away.

Gary Bechtel said he wanted to attend, but a business meeting ran late. Chairman Tommy Barnes and members Susan Middleton, Ella Carter and Susan Sipe could not be reached for comment.

Last month, Governor Nathan Deal signed a new law making some changes in the records law, and Ritter discussed many of the changes.

The Attorney General's office says the forum came after the Macon Telegraph raised concerns about the speed with which the district responded to open records requests, and the type of information they received in response.

After the briefing on Wednesday, Dallemand told 13WMAZ that the district complies with open-records and open-meetings laws.

The last time Dallemand agreed to speak with 13WMAZ, except at a board meeting or another scheduled event, was on Feb. 15. The last time any of his deputy superintendents would speak to us was March 8.

We've since asked to speak to Dallemand about several issues, including his 'Macon Miracle' strategic plan.

We asked for comment on Bibb County's high school graduation rate-- now listed at 51 percent -- and why 10 Bibb schools made the list of the state's worst.

We also asked about his spending on business travel, and we called for reaction when his last school district in Rochester, Minn. settled a lawsuit with a woman who said she was fired for raising questions about Dallemand's spending and other practices.

He and his staff did not respond to any of those requests for comment.

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