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December 5--  A judge rules there is insufficient evidence to proceed with a recall election of Montgomery County school board chairwoman Deloris James.

After a two-hour hearing Monday in Montgomery County Superior Court, Senior Judge L.A. McConnell, Jr. told supporters of the recall he appreciates "citizen vigilence" of public bodies, but in this case he finds no evidence of wrongdoing by the head of the school board.

{mosimage}Luke Smith, the former school principal at Montgomery County High School argued the case against James in court, however, he deferred to the chairman of the petition effort, Rudy Nanney, to read a statement after the judge's ruling.

"We are very disappointed at Judge McConnell's decision.  When we circulated the application for the recall petition, there was a tremendously positive response to the recall of Mrs. James.  Obviously all of us thought there was sufficient grounds to recall Deloris James.  If getting our school system placed on probation, violating state law and her failure to obey the code of ethics was not grounds to recall her, then what is?  The obvious loser in this matter is the Montgomery County school system, our community, the students, teachers and staff," Nanney read.

During testimony, School Superintendent Randy Rodgers said Luke Smith had reported concerns about the Montgomey County school board to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools not long after learning his contract at the high school would not be renewed.

James attorney, Joe McGovern, told the judge Luke Smith and former school superintendent Dale Clark "have done all they can to embarrass the school board."  

Reacting to the ruling, James says "This was baseless and unwarranted.  I feel like this was pure vindictiveness on the part of two disgruntled former employees and the spouse of a current employee.  That's just the way it is, I just feel like it's vindictive.  I will reiterate what I've said before.  I am dedicated to the children of Montgomery County and will continue to do what's in their best interest."