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Elgart prepare steps to regain accreditation

The Clayton County Board of Education will swear in four new members tonight, and then conduct a business meeting for the first time since early August.

Tonight's meeting also will mark the first time the board has had a quorum to discuss business since a work session, Aug. 25.

The board was scheduled to hold a business meeting on Sept. 8, but it was postponed because Gov. Sonny Perdue removed four members a week and a half earlier. Perdue's action left the board with only three members.

Tonight's meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., in the district's Central Administration Complex, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro. The main item on the agenda will be the joint presentation -- by Corrective Superintendent John Thompson and President Mark Elgart of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

"They have outlined a plan of action steps to pursue reinstatement of accreditation to their school district," according to a joint press release from the school system and SACS. "The plan includes specific steps the school district must implement in order to meet the remaining eight requirements for accreditation, originally defined in a Feb. 15, 2008, report from AdvancED."

SACS officials revoked the district's accreditation at the beginning of the month because the school system met only one out of nine mandates for improvement.

When the school system was originally trying to meet the nine mandates throughout the spring and summer, district officials did their work to meet the mandates, and then submitted their results to SACS officials without knowing whether they had done enough to avoid an accreditation loss.

Under the new, joint accreditation plan, school system and SACS officials will work together to make sure the district meets each of the eight remaining mandates. Earlier this month, Thompson said he and other officials will meet with Elgart regularly and SACS will check off mandates as they are met.

"This time, we will know instead of stabbing in the dark like we did before," Thompson has told the Clayton News Daily.

The board will approve the September financial; purchasing; construction; personnel changes, and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (S.P.L.O.S.T.) revenue reports.

Board members also will vote on a tax anticipation note; personnel recommendations; an ethics report and a change order for construction of the district's ninth high school.

New board members, Mary Baker, Jessie Goree, Lindsey McDaniel, III, and Trena Morris, will be sworn in before the meeting, at 5:45 p.m., in the board's meeting room.