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NAACP wading into school accreditation issue

POSTED: May 3, 2017 5:00 a.m.
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Liberty County NAACP President Graylan Quarterman

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The Liberty County Branch NAACP is wading into issues surrounding the Liberty County Board of Education’s early visit from AdvancED.
The civil rights group will hold a community meeting at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center in Flemington. The public is invited.
In a press release sent Tuesday morning, Branch President Graylan Quarterman said, “Liberty County NAACP believes the community has been too quiet” regarding the “turbulence in the Liberty County School System.”
“It is time to speak up,” Quarterman said.
AdvancED, the national school accreditation agency, is set to visit the system next fall to look into complaints of policy violations by a board member, according to a March 13 letter from the group’s chief accreditation officer to outgoing Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee.
Lee and the school board agreed to part ways earlier this year after controversy surrounding former Chief Financial Officer Roger Reese, who is suing the superintendent and school district. Reese alleges he was placed on administrative leave for publicly questioning Lee over recommendations for banking services.
The school board recently voted to fire Reese on the recommendation of a tribunal, and Lee and school officials say he was incompetent and gave himself a raise without approval.
AdvancED has received at least three letters regarding the actions of an unspecified board member, including two this year. These reportedly prompted AdvancED to send its “Special Review Team” to take another look at the BoE this fall.
During its evaluation last year the agency reported the board had a number of problems, ranging from arguments over how other members dressed to members using social media to attack other members.
Perhaps as a result, AdvancED surveys showed less than half the district’s parents thought the school board operated as it should. Less than half of staff members surveyed thought the school board “maintains a distinction between its roles and responsibilities and those of leadership,” according to AdvancED.
Quarterman said the NAACP wants to know what the BoE has done to address AdvancED’s concerns.
“It is the position of the Liberty County Branch NAACP we must constructively come together to work this out,” he said. “Regardless of the outcome, the tolerance of accepting the compromise of the good of the school system and ultimately the community can be tolerated no more.”

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