SACS

Local
5:31 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Will DeKalb School District Sustain Progress?

The DeKalb County school board went from "accredited on probation" to "accredited warned" status.
Credit Nick Nesmith/WABE News

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.  

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Local
5:50 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

DeKalb School District Improves Accreditation Status

The DeKalb County school district has improved its accreditation status.
Credit Nick Nesmith/WABE NEws

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.”

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Breaking
8:23 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Supreme Court Upholds Suspension of DeKalb School Board Members

The Georgia Supreme Court upheld a law allowing Gov. Nathan Deal to and replace six members of the DeKalb County school board.
Credit Nick Nesmith/WABE NEws

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. 

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Local
12:31 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

State Attorney General Asks for More Transparency from SACS

The DeKalb County school board went through a restructuring process after the governor suspended six of its nine members. A scathing report from SACS sparked the process.
Credit Nick Nesmith/WABE NEws

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.

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WABE News
11:55 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

DeKalb School Board Reinstatement Hearings Wrap Up

Suspended Dekalb County board member Donna Edler testified she was a committed board member.
Credit 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.”

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WABE News
4:34 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

DeKalb School Board to Consider No Nepotism Policy

The DeKalb County school board will consider implementing a No Nepotism policy for the first time.
Credit 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.

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WABE News
6:01 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Clayton County School District Undergoes Accreditation Review

Credit 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.

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WABE News
12:24 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Elgart Says DeKalb School Board Has Long Road to Full Accreditation

Dr. Mark Elgart (center) addresses the DeKalb County school board. Board chair Melvin Johnson is to his right. Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond is on his left.
Credit 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.

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
5:48 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

What Next for DeKalb County Schools: A Talk with SACS Chief Mark Elgart

Mark Elgart, CEO of AdvancEd, the parent firm of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Credit 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).  

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Local
4:57 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

DeKalb School Board Members Fail in Federal Court

The scene from the state board of education hearing about the DeKalb County school board
Credit 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.

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WABE News
6:56 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

NAACP Supports Suspended DeKalb School Board Members

The NAACP's Georgia chapter rallied behind the six suspended DeKalb County school board members.
Credit 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.

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Local
4:08 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Timeline of DeKalb School Board Crisis

The DeKalb County Board of Education
Credit 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

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WABE News
4:30 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

DeKalb Lawmakers Respond to Governor's Order to Suspend School Board Members

Governor Nathan Deal flanked by members of DeKalb's legislative delegation.

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.

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Local
4:21 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Deal Suspends Six From DeKalb School Board

Surrounded by DeKalb County lawmakers, Governor Nathan Deal today suspended 6 DeKalb Education Board members.
Credit 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.

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Developing
7:55 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Lawsuit Filed For DeKalb School Board Members

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.

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Local
3:43 am
Fri February 22, 2013

State Recommends Suspension for Six DeKalb Board Members

DeKalb board member Sarah Copelin-Wood speaks during the marathon State Education Board meeting.
Credit 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.

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Local
6:31 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

State Continues Hearing For DeKalb School Board

The scene from today's State Board of Education meeting. DeKalb school officials have been making their case for the school system to regain full accreditation.
Credit 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.

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Developing
4:45 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

State Board of Education Holds Hearing on Fate of DeKalb School Board

DeKalb County school board members appear in an earlier hearing before the State Board of Education.
Credit 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:

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Developing
3:16 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

DeKalb School District Files Lawsuit To Stop Thursday Hearing

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. 

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WABE News
5:35 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

DeKalb School Board Tries to Address Accreditation Problems

The DeKalb school board meets to address accreditation concerns.
Credit 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.

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WABE News
5:51 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

DeKalb School Board Prepares for Second State Hearing

DeKalb school board member Pamela Speaks testifies before the state board of education at an initial hearing in January.
Credit 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.

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WABE News
9:00 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Clayton County Prepares SACS Response

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.

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WABE News
2:55 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

DeKalb Schools Must Meet Four Criteria to Lift Sanction

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

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.

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Local
6:37 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

DeKalb Schools Chair Reacts To Accredited Probation

DeKalb School Board Chair Eugene Walker talks to reporters as DeKalb Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson looks on.
Credit 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.

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WABE News
4:06 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Accrediting Agency Places DeKalb Schools on Probation

Dr. Mark Elgart, the CEO of SACS' parent company, announced Monday the Dekalb Schools is on

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.

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WABE News
5:25 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Accrediting Agency Warns Georgia Perimeter

Georgia Perimeter College has been sanctioned by its accrediting agency. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools issued a warning to the school after officials discovered a $25 million deficit. SACS spokesperson Pamela Cravey says the school failed to meet three key accreditation standards.

"Failure to comply with comprehensive standard 2.11.1 financial resources, comprehensive standard 3.10.1 financial stability and comprehensive standard 3.10.3 control of finances,” she says.   

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This Day in History Series
8:39 am
Wed December 5, 2012

This Day in History: Georgia Colleges Lose Their Accreditation

Walter D. Cocking

Today is December 5, and if we were to turn Georgia's clock back 71 years to this date in 1941, we'd find the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announcing that it was withdrawing its accreditation for ten Georgia colleges.   

 Georgia State University associate professor of History Dr. Clifford Kuhn joins WABE's Steve Goss to talk about the so-called "Cocking Affair".

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WABE News
1:18 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

DeKalb Schools Undergoes On-Site Investigation

SACS will complete the on-site portion of their investigation of the Dekalb school board Friday.
Martha Dalton/WABE News

Friday, an agency in charge of assessing school quality wraps up a visit to DeKalb County. But DeKalb isn’t the only metro Atlanta district that has struggled to keep its accreditation in good standing. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, put the Atlanta Public Schools on probation last year. The district has since improved its status. In 2008, SACS revoked the Clayton County Schools' accreditation. It has since earned it back. Now, SACS is investigating the DeKalb school board for allegations of poor financial management and interfering in district operations.

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WABE News
1:22 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

DeKalb Officials Prepare for SACS Investigation

The DeKalb County School District will soon receive a visit from its accrediting agency. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools will launch a three-day investigation of the district starting Wednesday. SACS says its received dozens of complaints about the DeKalb school board. Mark Elgart, the CEO of SACS’ parent company, says it comes down to governance.

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WABE News
8:01 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Accrediting Agency Says They'll Investigate DeKalb Schools

SACS will conduct an investigation of the Dekalb County schools in October.
Martha Dalton/WABE News

The agency that accredits the DeKalb County Schools says they’ll conduct an investigation of the district.  The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools sent a letter to the school system last month, outlining several concerns.  Mark Elgart, the CEO of SACS’ parent company, says they received more than 50 complaints in the last year about the DeKalb school board.  

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