The agency that accredits DeKalb County schools has notified the district it will send a special review team to investigate the school system.
The head of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, sent a letter to District Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson on Tuesday.
The agency launched an investigation after charges were filed, stating that the school board misused funds and abused its power. The district recently responded and outlined the steps it is taking to improve how it operates.
"They've over expended their budget on legal fees by $50 million in five years," said SACS K-12 President Mark Elgart. "What could that do for a kid in the classroom? What could that do for many classes across the district?"
While SACS acknowledged many initiatives are under way that have the promise of improving the school system, the agency said it still has concerns over how the district operates.
"We welcome an investigation to the extent that it reveals there's nothing to hide," said district spokesman Jeff Dickerson.
The school board chairman also said he welcomed SACS's visit though he does not understand what prompted Tuesday's announcement.
"If SACS feels like this is what we need to do, then we have open arms for them," said Chairman Eugene Walker. "I guess in one sense it might prove to be a good thing because it will put all of these unfounded rumors to rest."
The on-site investigation is scheduled to take place Oct. 17 through Oct. 19. Elgart said his review team should have a report on its findings by Thanksgiving.
"It's still at the beginning of the process," said Elgart. "I don't believe parents should have a knee-jerk reaction to just the fact we're going in and investigating. There's still going to be a period of time after the investigation for this system to make improvements."
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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