SACS

The DeKalb County School System has regained full accreditation. The district was slapped with a probationary sanction in 2012 after a scathing report from its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS.

Mark Elgart, the CEO of AdvancEd, SACS' parent company, said the school board worked to achieve its new status by establishing policies, improving operations and stabilizing the district’s leadership.

Martha Dalton / WABE

The DeKalb County school system is expected to officially name a new superintendent Thursday. The school board will vote on whether to offer a contract to Stephen Green, who currently leads the Kansas City schools.

It was clear two weeks ago Green would be offered the job. But legally, the board had to wait until Thursday to vote on a contract.

During a visit to DeKalb last week, Green said he’d be a hands-on leader.

Martha Dalton / WABE

DeKalb County's sole finalist for school superintendent wraps up a three-day visit to the district Thursday. Stephen Green currently leads the Kansas City Schools in Missouri.

Green met with school leaders, staff and parents during his trip. He said he’s coming in with an open mind, but he’s also taking inventory.

“I am taking stock, not just in terms of the facility and the resources — financial — but also, human capital,” he said. “I’m assessing: What do we have here? What do we preserve, protect, keep, enhance, and what do we need to change or modify?”

Elle Moxley / WCUR

    

The DeKalb County School District has picked a superintendent finalist. Sources tell WABE the district has tapped Stephen Green, the head of the Kansas City Schools in Missouri.

Green took over the Kansas City Schools in 2012 after the district lost accreditation. The DeKalb school board is expected to announce his candidacy at a press conference Wednesday night. The board will have to wait 14 days before offering him a contract.

Nick Nesmith / WABE

The DeKalb County School Board has fired PROACT, the firm that was leading its superintendent search. PROACT’s CEO was embroiled in a controversy over allegedly using racial slurs in emails while he was dean of a Chicago high school. The FBI is also investigating a PROACT subsidiary, also run by its CEO.

Nick Nesmith / WABE

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced Tuesday the DeKalb County school district is no longer on accredited probation. But, SACS also said DeKalb needs to sustain its progress.

Mark Elgart heads SACS’ parent company. He cited the district’s improvements in governance and financial management. But Elgart also said the school board’s work isn’t over.

“One of the most important elements as you move forward is the sustainability of the actions you’ve taken to date and the identification and implementation of new actions,” he said.  

DeKalb County Board of Education meeting
Nick Nesmith / WABE

The DeKalb County school system is no longer on accredited probation. The district’s accrediting agency announced Tuesday it has placed DeKalb on “accredited warned” status.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed DeKalb on probation a little over a year ago. SACS chief Mark Elgart said the district has more made progress over the last year than SACS expected.

“I would tell you a year ago, this system was closer to losing accreditation than retaining it,” Elgart said. “However, a lot has happened in a year.”

DeKalb County Board of Education meeting
Nick Nesmith / WABE

The Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously upheld a 2010 state law authorizing Gov. Nathan Deal to suspend six members of the DeKalb County school board. Former DeKalb County school board chair Eugene Walker challenged the constitutionality of the law in federal court. Federal Judge Richard W. Story asked the state's High Court to determine whether the statute complies with the Constitution. 

DeKalb County Board of Education meeting
Nick Nesmith / WABE

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, accredits schools and districts internationally and in metro Atlanta. SACS faced criticism recently over its accreditation methods. That triggered a meeting this week with the head of SACS and Georgia’s attorney general.  The two men discussed how SACS can become more transparent.

Martha Dalton/WABE News

 The last of five reinstatement hearings for suspended members of the DeKalb County school board took place Tuesday when Donna Edler had her day in court.

Ten witnesses testified Edler was an involved board member. Zenda Bowie, a director for the Georgia School Boards Association, said Edler called her frequently to ask questions about protocol.

“I don’t know Ms. Edler really, really well, but I got the feeling that she wanted to know her role and she wanted to stay in her lane," Bowie said, "Her questions were directed that way.”

DeKalb School Board to Consider No Nepotism Policy

Apr 18, 2013
Nick Nesmith/WABE News

For the first time, the DeKalb County school board will consider adopting a “No Nepotism” policy. The district has come under fire for allegedly operating a “friends and family network” for years.

When the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed DeKalb on probation in December, officials cited nepotism. Mark Elgart, the CEO of SACS’ parent company, said the problem was systemic.

Clayton County Public Schools logo
Clayton County Public Schools

The Clayton County school system is in the middle of a scheduled accreditation review.  Stakeholders and parents are expected to watch the process carefully. 

The district lost its accreditation in 2008. It took about three years to earn it back. Clayton Schools Spokesperson David Waller says with that in mind, the school system has been preparing for the three-day review conducted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Martha Dalton/WABE News

The DeKalb County school board Wednesday night received an update from the head of its accrediting agency. In December, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the district on accredited probation due to board governance problems. The recently re-constituted board has a lot of work ahead of it. 

Mark Elgart, the CEO of SACS’ parent company, said by December 31 the board will need to: (1) develop a plan for student achievement, (2) improve the district’s finances, and (3) demonstrate effective governance.

AdvancEd

Now that a Federal judge has cleared the way for Governor Nathan Deal to replace six of the nine members of the DeKalb County School Board, the school system begins the work of returning to full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  

DeKalb School Board Hearing
Martha Dalton/WABE News

U.S. District Judge Richard Story denied a motion filed by DeKalb County school board members.

The school board asked Judge Story to rule on two arguments.

One, that the Georgia law authorizing Governor Nathan Deal to remove the school board violates the United States constitution.

The judge rejected that argument.

Also, the board contends the law violates the state constitution.

Judge Story did not rule on that.

Martha Dalton/WABE News

The Georgia chapter of the NAACP gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Thursday. The group voiced their support for six suspended members of the DeKalb County school board, five of whom are African-American. 

The NAACP took issue with Governor Deal’s decision to suspend the board members. Dee Dawkins-Haigler, the chair of Georgia’s Legislative Black Caucus, said the law that allows the governor to do that is flawed.

Timeline of DeKalb School Board Crisis

Feb 28, 2013
DeKalb County School District

Last updated May 28, 2013

This is a chronology of the twists and turns in the ongoing story of the DeKalb County School Board since the school system’s accreditation was put on probation in December, 2012. 

The links below are to WABE news stories and other sources of more detailed information.  This summary will be updated as events continue to unfold.

December 17, 2012
DeKalb Schools Placed on Probation by Accrediting Agency

Governor Nathan Deal announced Monday he is suspending six of nine members of the DeKalb County school board.

It comes as the district is in danger of losing its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

While many members of DeKalb’s legislative delegation expressed support for the governor's decision, others said it would only prolong the uncertainty.

The governor used a 2010 law to suspend the six board members and appoint a nominating committee to replace them.

Martha Dalton / WABE News

Governor Nathan Deal announced today he’ll sign an executive order to suspend six members of the DeKalb County school board.

The governor’s decision comes after a unanimous recommendation from the state board of education last week to suspend the six members. Governor Deal announced he’ll appoint a nominating committee to recommend replacements for the six members. Governor Deal also commended DeKalb interim superintendent Michael Thurmond, whom he met with this morning.

Lawsuit Filed For DeKalb School Board Members

Feb 22, 2013

Governor Nathan Deal Monday is scheduled to talk about the recommendation to suspend six DeKalb County school board members.

In an advisory Friday, Deal did not say whether he’ll act on the state education board’s recommendation. However, some DeKalb school board members aren’t taking chances.

Martha Dalton / WABE News

After a 14-hour hearing Thursday, the state board of education voted unanimously to recommend Governor Nathan Deal suspend six members of the DeKalb County school board with pay. 

That means three newly-elected board members will keep their seats. The hearing was required by law since the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the district on probation for governance problems.

Martha Dalton / WABE News

All day long, DeKalb County school officials have been making their case to the State Board of Education. 

At issue is whether the state board will recommend Governor Deal remove DeKalb school board members from office. The district is on accredited probation due to board governance issues.

WABE’s Martha Dalton is at the State Board hearing and provided this update:

Update 6:04pm

Textbooks have been a focus of this afternoon's testimony.

DeKalb School Board Hearing
Martha Dalton/WABE News

Will the Georgia school board recommend to Governor Deal that he remove the DeKalb County school board members?

Before a recommendation is made, the DeKalb board has been defending itself today in a hearing before the state board of education that is still underway.

WABE’s Martha Dalton is at the hearing and provides this update:

Updated 5:20 PM -- See Below

The DeKalb County School District has filed a motion with the Superior Court of Fulton County asking for a temporary restraining order that would prevent the DeKalb school board's scheduled hearing before the State Board of Education on Thursday. 

The DeKalb school system was placed on probation in December by its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, for what SACS called board governance issues that were preventing major decisions from being made. 

Martha Dalton/WABE News

 The DeKalb school board Monday addressed three of the steps needed to regain full accreditation. But, it’s unclear whether the board has resolved governance problems that led to accredited probation.

The board approved a governance training contract and amended its bylaws to disband unnecessary committees.

DeKalb School Board Hearing
Martha Dalton/WABE News

The DeKalb County school board will again face the state board of education next week, as a result of being placed on probation by its accrediting agency. It will be board members’ last chance to convince state officials they should keep their seats.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the DeKalb board on probation in December for governance problems.

Board chair Eugene Walker said last week the board is constantly working on those problems to get off of probation.

Members of the Clayton County school board have prepared a response to a Letter of Concern they received from their accrediting agency. The Letter of Concern from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools says the board struggles with governance issues.

The concerns include “conflict among board members” and conducting a superintendent search without hiring a firm.  Mark Elgart, the CEO of SACS’ parent company, told board members at a meeting last month they need to work as a united body.

Martha Dalton

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.

DeKalb Schools Chair Reacts To Accredited Probation

Dec 17, 2012
Charles Edwards / WABE News

DeKalb County School Board Chair Eugene Walker said he was disappointed to learn the school system was placed on accredited probation.

In a short press conference, Walker said he, the board and Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson have not reviewed SACS’ report. But he says they will.

“And we will come up with a game plan to adequately and comprehensively respond in the most accurate and the most meaningful way we can to the recommendations SACS made,” said Walker.

The DeKalb County School District has been placed on probation by its accrediting agency. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) announced the sanction Monday after wrapping up a six-month investigation. The DeKalb Schools’ accreditation was already “on advisement,” mainly due to governance problems. Now, Mark Elgart, the CEO of SACS’ parent company, says the condition of the district is one of “conflict and chaos,” mainly because board members interfered with day-to-day operations of the school system.

Pages