By Curt Yeomans
Clayton County Board of Education Chairperson Alieka Anderson decided someone with experience dealing with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was the best person to represent the board during meetings with the accrediting agency.
Anderson appointed board member Pamela Adamson, a retired educator trained to sit on SACS review teams, to be a liaison between her colleagues and SACS.
Adamson will attend meetings between officials from the district and SACS, and relay information from those sessions to the other board members.
"Pam has dealt with accreditation," said Anderson. "She has a strong background in accreditation, and accreditation issues with SACS. I definitely looked into that aspect ... We need someone like Pam in this position. She has dedication, expertise and a vision to move this county forward."
Adamson said she believed it would be more helpful for the board if it is involved in the district's meetings with SACS. Until now, most of the board's accreditation progress reports have come from Superintendent John Thompson and Deputy Superintendent Judith Simmons during board work sessions and business meetings.
But, that is not enough in the eyes of the new board member, who took office on Jan. 5.
"We need to be part of solving the problem," said Adamson.
Adamson said her history of working for the accrediting agency will help her bring a new way of understanding the things SACS officials are telling district leaders. "I should be able to bring a different interpretation of what's being said back to the board because of my background with SACS," she said.
The board did not vote on appointing Adamson to the position, but Julie Lewis, the school system's general counsel, said a vote was not required because it is not a policy-created position. There are only two positions for board members established by board policy. Those are the board's chairperson, and vice chairperson.
"This [liaison position] is something they created ad hoc," said Lewis.
The board also voted, 7-1, in favor of a $305,978 amendment of its use of undistributed funds, to replace funds used for other expenses.
Those expenses include the purchase of school uniforms for elementary and middle schools; a public relations firm which has been retained to improve the district's image, and the services of attorney Rodney Moore, who represented four former board members during a State Administrative Hearing in August 2008. Board member Michael King was the lone dissenting voice in the vote.
The board put off nominations of community members to the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee because board secretary Arlecia Battle had not received nominations from board member Wanda Smith in time for the meeting.
The board also gave unanimous approval for a $25.9 million construction bid to the Kennesaw-based construction company, Creamer-Pearce, LLC, for the construction of a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school that will be built near Lovejoy.
Board member Trinia Garrett was not at the meeting. Anderson said there was a "tragedy" in Garrett's family.