JONESBORO Clayton County Public Schools officials and school board are expected to hear from the county’s seven mayors in coming days voicing concerns regarding a new accreditation crisis facing the school system.
Murmurs began surfacing last week that the mayors were in the process of writing a letter to the school system when Morrow Mayor Joseph “J.B.” Burke mentioned it during a Morrow City Council meeting. Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day confirmed the letter’s existence, but school system officials simultaneously said they have not yet received the correspondence.
In the letter, the mayors are expected to address new concerns the Southern Association of Colleges and schools and its parent organization, AdvancEd, have about bickering school board members.
“The intent of the letter is to let them know we are here to support them if they needs us, and to also let them know we take this matter very seriously,” said Day.
Attempts to track down a copy of the letter led Clayton News Daily to College Park Mayor Jack Longino’s office late Tuesday afternoon. Longino was not available at the time, and it is not clear if the letter has already been mailed to the school system.
Any concerns the mayors may have about the school system’s accreditation is not unfounded. This is the third time in less than 10 years that the Clayton County Board of Education has run afoul of SACS because of conflicts among board members and school system staff.
SACS pulled the district’s accreditation four years ago when board member relationships devolved to the state where accreditation officials deemed those relationships to be “dysfunctional.” The accreditation was restored in May 2009, but the district had to spend two more years on probation.
The district lost thousands of students when its accreditation was revoked. The mayors are concerned another accreditation crisis will hurt efforts to attract new businesses and families to the county.
“People are not going to move here with children if they think the schools are in trouble,” said Day.