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Posted by on October 10, 2013.

Dunwoody: AdvancED president says state does not need another school system

Mark Elgart, President and CEO of AdvancED, spoke at the Oct. 10 Buckhead Business Association meeting.

Mark Elgart, President and CEO of AdvancED, spoke at the Oct. 10 Buckhead Business Association meeting.

The head of an organization that accredits high schools throughout the nation said he would not be in favor of a proposal to create a school system in the city of Dunwoody.

Mark Elgart, President and CEO of AdvancED, answered spoke about the proposed new school system during a Q&A at the weekly Buckhead Business Association meeting on Oct. 10. He was responding to a question from Reporter Newspapers about the idea.

He said the state has 181 school systems, which is “far too many.”

“Georgia does not need to expand the number of school systems it has in the state,” he said. “It needs to contract it so it can use its resources differently than it currently does.”

Dunwoody is exploring the idea of an independent school system, largely because Elgart’s organization threatened to revoke the accreditation of DeKalb County Schools, which serves the city.

State Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, on Oct. 6 released findings of a new study showing that local tax dollars could easily fund the enterprise.

Taylor told a crowd of about 40 members of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association that, if taxes were left at the same rate, a local school system could operate with a surplus of cash, possibly more than $20 million.

The DeKalb School District, the third largest in the state, has been plagued with recent problems.

Earlier this year, Gov. Nathan Deal suspended six of the nine sitting members of the school board after the district was placed on probation amid allegations of financial mismanagement, nepotism and meddling in administrative matters.

Elgart spent much of the Oct. 10 meeting talking about the systemic problems in education, including how education is funded. He said while expectations keep rising, funding remains stagnant.

“We cannot continue to fund education the way we have for the last 100 years,” he said. “There are people there who are very aware with this. The problem with coming out and saying that is there is no solution yet.”

–          Pat Fox contributed to this story