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Posted by on September 10, 2012.

DeKalb County BOE member Nancy Jester says accreditation meetings won’t be private

District 1 DeKalb Board of Education member Nancy Jester

DeKalb County Board of Education Member Nancy Jester says a recent story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution claiming the board plans to meet in private to discuss accreditation issues is inaccurate.

The AJC reported that the board will use the closed sessions to discuss a letter it recently received from AdvanED, a group that accredits schools nationally. The letter raised questions about the activities of the DeKalb  School Board. The board approved this policy during its Sept. 5 meeting, the AJC reported. To read the full story from the AJC, click here.

Closed meetings of public bodies are commonly known as an executive session.

Jester said in an email to her constituents that executive sessions can’t be used to discuss the letter regarding the school system’s accreditation. The email was co-signed by BOE members Don McChesney and Pam Speaks.

“State law only allows for meetings in executive session for a few, very specific reasons,” the email says. “The discussion of the letter from AdvancED/SACS is not a matter that can be discussed in executive session. Wednesday’s Board meeting was held in public and there will be no meeting of the board regarding this matter in executive session.”

Here is the full emailed statement:

AdvancED/SACS Letter – Our thoughts

We would like to take this opportunity to clarify recent board actions regarding the latest letter from AdvancED/SACS to the DeKalb County School District. The AJC’s initial report was not accurate and we want to communicate to you what actions were taken by the board at our meeting on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. The Board voted to formally acknowledge receipt of the letter. The Superintendent provided a memo to board members outlining a process to develop the District’s response. The Board voted to accept her process as well.

State law only allows for meetings in executive session for a few, very specific reasons. The discussion of the letter from AdvancED/SACS is not a matter that can be discussed in executive session. Wednesday’s Board meeting was held in public and there will be no meeting of the Board regarding this matter in executive session.

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. This meeting will be public and all Board members will have the opportunity to discuss the District’s response letter.

Most importantly, we want to share with you that we welcome the scrutiny from AdvancED/SACS. The issues that were raised in their letter have been concerns that we have publicly discussed at Board meetings and shared with various officials. Indeed, we have been the whistle blowers regarding some of these issues. We also want to remind the public that SB84 … , provides for the Governor to intervene with a Board of Education without the District losing accreditation. This protects the children in our schools while providing a mechanism to correct problems within a school district.

We hope that our statement helps clarify recent events and reports. As always, please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

Nancy Jester

Don McChesney

Pam Speaks

 

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