DeKalb County school district to keep accreditation - CBS46 News

DeKalb County school district taken off probation

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STONE MOUNTAIN, GA (CBS46) -

DeKalb County residents learned Tuesday the public school district will be taken off probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

"We had the support of parents," said Superintendent Michael Thurmond. "Ultimately, parents have the greatest influence on the quality of education that children receive."

Mark Elgart, president and chief executive officer of SACS parent company AdvancED, said SACS has put the district on "accredited warned" status from "accredited probation."

Elgart noted that DeKalb County schools completed eight of 11 actions SACS said were problems and did so more quickly than many expected.  Three other sections are in progress.

"They're united," said Elgart. "They're united in what their respective roles are and united in their vision for this school system. They're united in what's most important."

In December 2012, SACS announced the district was on probation, citing infighting among school board members, improper influence over personnel decisions and the district's massive budget deficit.

Shortly after that announcement, the governor replaced six school board members who were accused of not doing their job. The governor was on hand for the announcement.

"I hope the message that it is important to set aside these personal agendas and work together has been received by everybody," Deal said. "I have to think that it has been."

SACS said the district is headed in the right direction but still has work to do. The accrediting agency said it will send a team back to the district in May to check on its continued progress.

"You are not at the end of a journey today.  You're actually, quite frankly, still near the beginning," Elgart told the board.

DeKalb County's interim CEO said he was pleased with Tuesday's news.

"Today's announcement by SACS acknowledges all of the improvements that have been made and that more good is to come. We can all take pride in this accomplishment, as what is good news for the school district is also good news for the whole of DeKalb County," said Lee May in a statement.

SACS noted it could take at least two years before the district restores itself to full accreditation.

"We will score a touchdown and that touchdown will be student achievement and full accreditation," assured School Board President Melvin Johnson.

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