The organization responsible for accrediting school systems said it will soon pay DeKalb County school officials a visit to investigate allegations of school board interference and mismanagement.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has notified DeKalb officials it intends to send a team to conduct a site visit Oct. 17 through Oct. 19, according to Reporter Newspapers broadcast partner CBS Atlanta.

In August, AdvancED, the umbrella group that includes SACS, notified school officials it had received numerous allegations that the school system is in violation of accreditation standards. It says the complaints allege the school board has mismanaged school funds, spent too much on services such as legal fees and that board members have undermined the school administration.

Allegations include board members using their influence in hiring decisions and meddling in budgeting procedures. The complaints also allege board members routinely violated board policy, disclosing confidential information from closed meetings and making direct requests of individual staff members.

Dr. Cheryl Atkinson, the current DeKalb superintendent, sent a letter responding to the allegations, telling AdvancED the board takes concerns seriously.

“The district acknowledges challenges from the past and is committed to continuing to address and comply with all AdvancED and SACS standards …” Atkinson wrote.

She said the school system is conducting a forensic audit and has restructured the central office to address costs.

District 1 School Board Member Nancy Jester says the board will not hold closed door meetings to discuss the allegations. Jester wrote a letter to her constituents.

“After we receive the draft of the district’s response, we will request a board meeting to hear from our fellow board members and vote to accept/reject the draft response,” Jester said in a letter to constituents. “This meeting will be public.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com