DeKalb Schools Must Meet Four Criteria to Lift Sanction

Dec 18, 2012

This week, the Dekalb County School District was placed on probation by its accrediting agency. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has given the district four Required Actions it must meet in the next year in order to lift the sanction.

Mark Elgart is the CEO of SACS’ parent company, AdvancEd. He said the first thing board needs to do is develop a plan to help all of its members get along. The second requirement, Elgart said, is to act collectively.

"...rather than individual board members acting independently and undermining the authority of the superintendent to lead and manage day-to-day operations,” he said.

Mark Elgart, the CEO of AdvancEd, outlined four Required Actions the Dekalb school board has to take to get off of probation.
Credit Martha Dalton

The SACS investigation revealed that board members overstepped their authority by making demands of school administrators. To address that, Elgart said, the third Required Action is to develop policies that separate the board’s duties from those of the administration.

The investigation also found the board had trouble handling the district’s budget. Elgart said that’s why the fourth mandate asks the board to create new fiscal policies.

“…that ensure the school system will adopt and ensure proper implementation of budgets within the financial means of the school system and that support the delivery of an educational program that meet the needs of students,” Elgart said.

Elgart made it clear that the Required Actions are not optional.

“If the system fails to do so in the next year, address those required actions in a substantive way, the loss of accreditation is imminent,” he said.

In addition to those four Required Actions, the board still has to complete seven others to fulfill obligations from when its accreditation was placed on “advisement” almost two years ago.