DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS ATLANTA, Reporter Newspapers broadcast partner) –

Georgia’s State Board of Education voted Thursday to give the DeKalb County School District more time to iron out problems that landed the school system on probation.

The state board summoned members of the DeKalb County School Board to present evidence as to why they should not be suspended.

All nine members of the DeKalb board were present and testified at a hearing Thursday afternoon.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the district’s accrediting agency, has put the school system on probation.

SACS officials said an investigation found mismanagement of money, abuse of power and unethical hiring practices.

“I assure you we fully realize the seriousness and gravity of this situation,” said Gene Walker, DeKalb’s School Board chairman.

Both the Department of Education’s attorney and the lawyer representing the school district asked the board to agree to a consent order that spells out the action board members will take to address SACS’ concerns.

“I am disappointed, angry and embarrassed by our plight,” testified school board member Pamela Speaks.

The proposed consent order was signed by all nine school board members. The board’s attorney said the agreement demonstrated the board’s commitment to achieve the required actions to improve and demonstrate progress.

“We need act in a way that ensures an unwavering commitment that all children in DeKalb County will receive a high-quality education,” said School Board Member Marshall Orson.

The state board voted unanimously to give the DeKalb district several additional months to try to resolve the issues SACS has spelled out.

A second hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21.