Marlow requested a hearing with the state last week regarding her appeal of the ethics violation sanction she received from the local school board Oct. 2, the State Department of Education confirmed Monday.
She made the request while the state was closed for Thanksgiving holiday to beat last Friday’s deadline to ask for the hearing.
State Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza confirmed Marlow requested the hearing be added to her appeal of the sanction, but said the department is waiting on documents to be submitted before moving on to the next step in the appeal process.
“It’s a wait for those documents, then based on the timeframe of those, determine the next step,” Cardoza said Monday.
Marlow was sanctioned for violating Cherokee Board of Education policy by sending a letter to school accrediting agency AdvanceEd calling for an investigation. She appealed her sanction to the State Board of Education on Nov. 1.
The state board docketed Marlow’s appeal on Nov. 19.
According to Georgia Code, Marlow must now submit a brief within 20 days of the docketing, no later than Dec. 9, and the Cherokee County Board of Education must submit a brief within 40 days, by Dec. 29.
Cardoza said both parties must turn over the necessary documents before a hearing date could be set, but the exact timeline is uncertain.
“It is very difficult to give a general time frame for the case because they are all very different — depends on several factors,” Cardoza said.
Georgia Code states if the appeal hearing is granted to Marlow, she may be represented by counsel, but no new evidence will be allowed in the arguments.
“The argument shall be confined to the issues in the record and the evidence transmitted from previous proceedings,” the code states. “No new evidence shall be received. The state board shall not consider any question not specifically raised in the written appeal or the statement of contentions.”
The final decision to grant or deny Marlow’s appeal will be decided with a vote by the State Board of Education, Cardoza said.
“It’s very much like a trial, the hearing officer is kind of acting as a judge,” he said. “They’ll go back and forth, then the hearing officer makes a recommendation and the board votes on it.”
The hearing usually takes place in the offices or a meeting room in the State Department of Education building in Atlanta, Cardoza said.
Cardoza said since the situation with Marlow’s sanction and appeal is unlike the typical cases seen by the State Department of Education, there are still some questions about how this case will be handled.
While hearings regarding school boards and accreditation have tended to be open to the public, cases involving students or teachers are generally private, he said.
An attorney with the State Department of Education “does believe it would be an open meeting,” Cardoza said.
According to Georgia Code, the state board will produce a written order stating their decision to deny or grant Marlow’s appeal, within 25 days after the hearing.
If denied her appeal, Marlow can appeal the state’s decision to the Superior Court in Cherokee County, according to Georgia Code.