An oversight board wants the DeKalb school district to reform by the fall or risk losing its accreditation.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools released the findings of a review team that investigated the district.
SACS’s report, released March 3, concludes the school district needs to hire a new superintendent, effectively close and redistrict schools, and develop a plan to monitor CRCT tests, among other items.
“Although the school system has made significant efforts and progress to address these challenges, more work must be done by the school system’s leadership to repair its reputation, restore trust and stakeholder confidence, and safeguard its processes.” said Mark Elgart, president and CEO of AdvancED.
The district will be required to send SACS a progress report before a visit by SACS review team Oct. 31.
The status of the district is “accredited on advisement,” which stops short of probation. In the view of SACS, DeKalb schools are not in as dire shape as the nearby Atlanta Public Schools, which recently was sanctioned with probation.
About 12 to 15 percent of the 5,000 districts nationwide that are overseen by SACS are under “advisement,” said Jennifer Oliver, spokeswoman for AdvancED, the parent organization of SACS. Only eight of those school districts are on probation.
In response to SACS announcement, DeKalb district officials said that they were “not in crisis” for accreditation. The district said that SACS involvement provided a “roadmap” to gaining clear accreditation in 2012.
“We appreciate the help and advice that AdvancED has provided us over the last several months,” said Thomas Bowen, chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Education. “We will continue to work with them to implement their recommendations.”
The SACS report provides several specific recommendations to the school district, including redistricting, hiring a new superintendent and reestablishing the school system’s strategic plan in order to guide the school system.
The district is forming an internal task force, selected by Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson, to address issues raised by SACS by Oct. 15.