DeKalb School Board member’s pay withheld amid fight over background checks

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt February 10, 2015
Stan Jester. Photo provided by Reporter Newspapers

Stan Jester. Photo provided by Reporter Newspapers

School Board Stan Jester believes that nothing in state law requires him to submit to a background check conducted by DeKalb County Schools.

Now he says the school system refuses to give him his paycheck and has refused to create a county email account for him. That means his constituents can’t contact him about School Board business using the official county email account, and he isn’t included on some emails that go to the other board members.

Decaturish asked DeKalb County Schools about this, and a spokesperson said a detailed statement would be forthcoming.

Jester believes the school system’s actions are retaliation for his refusal to comply with a background check requirement.

“I think it all goes back to the fingerprinting,” Jester said.

The Jester background check standoff became public early last month when WSB-TV ran a story about it. He told WSB-TV, “It is a conflict of interest to be investigated by the agency I was elected to oversee.”

Jester maintains that the issue is overblown. He had the Dunwoody Police Department conduct a background check and has posted that on his personal website. He said all background checks use the Georgia Criminal Information Center. But the school system maintains that the background check must be conducted using the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, which includes GCIC and other databases around the country.

An email sent to Jester by School Board Chairman Melvin Johnson, which was posted on Jester’s website, says, “The District is in receipt of your State background check information conducted by the DeKalb County Police Department and transmitted to the District’s Public Safety Office. However the District’s policies and procedures require a certified national fingerprinting and background check.”

The school system considers Jester to be an employee, subject to the same rules as all other employees. Jester said that is not correct.

“I researched this and found that both DeKalb BOE policy (GAHB) and state law (OCGA 20-2-51) explicitly state that BOE members are not employees,” Jester wrote on his blog.

As the dispute has dragged on, Jester said there have been other attempts to slight him.

“It’s the little things … that I know they’re withholding on purpose,” he said.

In addition to withholding disbursements of his $18,000 per year salary and refusing to create an email address for him, Jester said he hasn’t been given access to enter the School Board offices through a side entrance. He’s required to enter through the front door of the Central Offices like the general public. He said he isn’t being registered for conferences he needs to attend as a board member.

“It’s indicative of the intimidation and bullying they’ve engaged in,” Jester said.

Stan Jester is married to Nancy Jester, who was forcibly removed from the DeKalb County Board of Education by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2013, along with five other members.  Stan Jester ran unopposed for the District 1 Board of Education seat and won in May.

He said when his wife was a member of the School Board, she didn’t like the idea of a background check either.

“She said, ‘I really don’t feel comfortable,'” Stan Jester said. “She ended up doing it. Then two days later, Somebody in senior administration called us apologized profusely and said we were completely wrong in doing this … That’s more or less what brought this to my attention. I definitely didn’t need to do the fingerprinting.”

Jester said he didn’t expect the dispute to come to the attention of the news media.

“It was really academic more than anything,” he said. “The next thing I know I find myself on WSB. I totally did not see that coming.”

If the current stalemate persists, he apparently won’t be seeing a lot of things related to his position as an elected School Board member.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Thisten

    Good story Dan, thanks.

    This is unbelievable. I’m so sick of this. Dispute after dispute, retaliation, stalemate, paranoia, constant conflict. An inability to work together or accomplish anything meaningful. It just never ends.

  • DHer

    Central staff calls the tune. Board Members must dance.

  • Susan In NoMansLand

    Paycheck = employee

    If he doesn’t consider himself am employee, then he should have no problem doing the job for free. You can’t have it both ways!

  • RAJ

    Something to do with a law enforcement issue in Texas?

  • Frustrated Dekalb Parent

    Who cuts these checks – payroll or AP? It would seem to me that this would be non-employee compensation payable through AP and reportable on a 1099.

  • Contested

    DCSD is full of bullies and racists.

    • atlfc

      Just like you!

  • TheNanny

    To be clear, Stan has an email address. It just doesn’t work.

    He was given an obsolete First Class email address while Mrs. turner was given one at

    Considering they transitioned to the new email system last July, that had to be deliberate.

  • FixDeKalbFirst

    I’ve worked as a teacher in Louisiana in the 1980s, Georgia in the early 1990s and just retired from federal service. In all instances a background check AND fingerprints were required. If Mr. Jester was not willing to comply with the regulations and requirements, he should not have run for the board. He knew what would be required especially given his wife had to submit to the same rules prior to being ousted from that same position.

    Not even a tiny violin playing over this self created drama.

    • David S

      Stan is not a teacher or a federal employee, so you’re experience is irrelevant. As he’s pointed out, both the DeKalb BOE policy and Georgia state law specifically state that BOE members are not employees of the school system. Regardless of this, Stan went and had a background check conducted and actually posted it on his website. How many other Board members have done that, or would be willing to?
      Sorry, but “because Melvin Johnson says so” is not good enough for me.

  • Dunwoody Mom

    Dare I suggest that DCSS is more toxic now than under Crawford Lewis/Cheryl Atkinson. All of the issues surround DCSS that have come to the forefront over the last weeks just reinforce the opinions of many, myself included, that Michael Thurmond was not qualified to be named School Superintendent. Where is SACS?

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