Here is the official statement from SACS on DeKalb’s probation:
The AdvancED Accreditation Commission voted to place the DeKalb County School District on Accredited Probation, effective immediately, after an investigative evaluation conducted on October 17-19 by an AdvancED Special Review Team found the DeKalb County School District in violation of the AdvancED Standards for Accreditation.
“Based on a comprehensive investigation by the Special Review Team, there is significant and irrefutable evidence that the DeKalb County School District is in a state of conflict and chaos,” stated Dr. Mark Elgart, President and CEO, AdvancED. “The system over the past decade has struggled with consistent and effective governance. This failure to govern effectively has resulted in a decline in student performance, financial mismanagement, and lack of integrity and ethics in recruiting, appointing and evaluating personnel at all levels of the school system,” said Elgart.
As result of findings by the Special Review Team and in accordance with AdvancED policies, the DeKalb County School District, including all of its schools, has been placed in the accreditation status of “Accredited Probation” until December 31, 2013. DeKalb County School District will have until May 31, 2013 to make progress in complying with the Special Review Team’s Required Actions and subsequently must complete those Required Actions by December 31, 2013.
The Required Actions are as follows:
1. Devise and implement a written, comprehensive plan for unifying the DeKalb County Board of Education so that the focus can become serving the needs of the children of the DeKalb County School District.
2. Ensure that all actions and decisions of the DeKalb County Board of Education are reflective of the collective Board and consistent with approved policies and procedures and all applicable laws, regulations and standards, rather than individual board members acting independently and undermining the authority of the Superintendent to lead and manage day-to-day operations.
3. Establish and implement policies and procedures that ensure segregation of duties of the governing board and that of the administration including the elimination of Board working committees that result in board members assuming administrative functions that should be the responsibility of appropriate staff.
4. Implement and adhere to fiscally responsible policies and practices that ensure the DeKalb County Board of Education 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 meets the needs of the students.
In addition, the DeKalb County School District also must complete the Required Actions outlined in the March 2012 Quality Assurance Review report as well as the Required Actions outlined in the January 2011 Special Review Team report and subsequently marked In Progress on the Accreditation Progress Report submitted by the school system in October 2011.
The DeKalb County School District will be expected to host a Monitoring Team visit by May 31, 2013 to assess the school system’s progress toward meeting the Required Actions. Then by December 31, 2013, the school system must complete the outlined Required Actions and host a second Monitoring Team visit.
As indicated in the Special Review Team report, the failure of the Board to effectively govern the system is having severe consequences on the system’s current and future operation. If this pattern of poor governance is not corrected immediately, thousands of DeKalb County students will be negatively impacted for years to come.
And here is the brief response statement from DeKalb Schools:
Today members of the DeKalb County Board of Education, along with the Superintendent and Senior Team, met with AdvancED and Dr. Mark Elgart, President and CEO of AdvancED. During this meeting, Dr. Elgart reviewed the Special Review Team Report from the October 17-19 visit. As a result, the District is now being placed on Accredited-Probation until December 31, 2013.
The District has received this information and will work collaboratively to review the findings and begin to address the required actions. The District still remains fully accredited and students’ academic status remains unchanged.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog