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Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 10:28am

Local Boards Retain Control of Schools

The state board of education voted to let two struggling school boards retain control of their school systems.

Atlanta and Coffee County schools are in danger of losing their accreditation due to their ineffective school boards.

A new law gives the governor power to disband dysfunctional school boards and appoint new members, after the state board of education recommends that action.

Chairman of the Coffee County Board of Education Billy Cliett went before the state board, pleading for local control.

"We can assure you we understand the gravity of the situation we are in. We’d like to say it doesn’t rise to this or that [level] or we’re not as bad as another school, but at the end of the day we are still under probation,” says Cliett, “and it is our responsibility to get us back to where we need to be."

The state board voted to let Coffee County keep control. Cliett says the system won’t be in the clear until the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits school systems, reviews them this winter.

The decision for Atlanta Public Schools’ wasn’t as favorable. The board delayed the vote until no later than November to give the APS board time to improve under a new board chair and interim superintendent.

Interim APS Superintendent Errol Davis was pleased with the decision and says there’s already improvement among the members since he took charge last month.

“The only thing I can say is since I’ve come on board every vote has been unanimous and I haven’t had any split votes so I’m optimistic about that,” says Davis. “People are saying what they need to say then they’re coming together in a consensus manner and voting on the consensus.”

The APS board is also under probation with SACS. It comes under review again in late September.

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