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Schools expect to get
accreditation verdict today

Eight months after the Clayton County Public School System lost its accreditation, the 48,000-student school district is expecting to learn today whether it has made enough improvements to warrant getting its accreditation back.

District officials will meet with representatives of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) at noon today to hear the results of the site visit the accrediting agency conducted in April to evaluate the school system.

School officials announced Thursday evening that the meeting, in which the results of SACS' visit will revealed, will be a "special circumstances called" school board meeting, because a quorum of the board is expected to be present. The meeting will take place at SACS' headquarters, at 1866 Southern Lane, in Decatur.

"[We're] just trying to give notice [that the] board has been invited," said School System Legal Counsel Glenn Brock in an e-mail. "They [board members] have no agenda other than to listen to SACS."

Last August, Clayton County became the first U.S. school system in nearly 40 years to lose its accreditation, after it met only one, out of nine, mandates for improvement.

At the time, SACS officials cited a "dysfunctional" and "fatally flawed" school board as the main reason for the accreditation loss. Other concerns included student-attendance records, and financial records.

Since the accreditation loss, the district has worked with SACS to make sure the system meets the remaining mandates.

"We believe that we have done everything we possibly can to affect the restoration of the district's accreditation," Interim School Superintendent Valya Lee said Thursday, in a written statement. "While we have been vigilant and determined in our efforts to regain our SACS accreditation, we have not been consumed by this process.

"Our mission continues to focus on children and their academic success," she said.

After the meeting, the accrediting agency and the school system will hold a joint, invitation-only press conference - also at SACS' headquarters - to discuss the district's accreditation status.

School System Spokesman Charles White said despite the plan to have SACS and school system officials appear together at the press conference, district officials have not been told in advance whether the accreditation will be restored.

"No one in this building knows what decision has been made regarding the accreditation," said White, as he pointed to the district's administrative office in Jonesboro from its parking lot.

School Board Chairperson Alieka Anderson and Boardmember Pamela Adamson also said no one has told the board whether SACS will restore the system's accreditation.