It was a tough legislative wrangle this year to cut the DeKalb school board from nine to seven.

The new rule was passed as a rider on other legislation, deepening a public split between north DeKalb and chiefly Republican supporters and their south DeKalb Democrat colleagues.

Many, such as Rep. Mike Jacobs, feel that reducing the size of the school board is necessary to end squabbling and corruption among members, ultimately making it more effective.

North DeKalb legislators are drawing other plans for next year.

Republican Sen. Fran Millar of Dunwoody said he’s not done with education reform. “DeKalb still spends a lot of money with little result,” he said. Millar added that he’s looking at ideas like capping the property tax millage rate that the school board can levy or limiting what the board can do with that money.

And that may seem simple compared to what could be coming next year: a new city of Brookhaven.

House Bill 636, authored by Republican Rep. Mike Jacobs of DeKalb County, cannot pass until next year. But if it does, the residents of Brookhaven would get to vote on incorporation during the 2012 presidential primary.

Jacobs’ bill offers a Brookhaven bounded roughly by Fulton County, Dunwoody, Chamblee, Clairmont Road and I-85. The city’s property tax millage rate – charged on top of county property taxes – would be capped at 4 mills unless voters approve something higher. There would be a six-member nonpartisan city council, plus a mayor who also votes. The bill gives council the option to create fire and police departments.

If approved by a majority of voters, the city would start business in January 2013, but stay in a transitional relationship with DeKalb County for two years.

By Maggie Lee

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