Nationwide changes made by school accreditation agency AdvancED, means the Liberty County School System is no longer under the immediate threat of losing their accreditation. LCSS Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry made the announcement at Tuesday's regular board meeting after the board approved a motion to amend the meeting’s agenda.
"As of June the 29th, AdvancED has changed their policies which is going to affect us in a good way," Perry said. "AdvancED has added another level to their process.” Before it was accredited, accredited under review and then loss of accreditation. Now they have added accredited under condition, which is now the last level before you lose accreditation."
Perry said the change means the LCSS is no longer at the level that requires a state board of education hearing.
The LCSS was placed under review May 8 due to the behavior of the board. Current state law required the schools to report the status and prepare for a hearing with the state board of education. The law was enacted after the Clayton County School System lost their accreditation due to their governance team. It is a safeguard ensuring school districts, who are doing well academically, don't lose accreditation due to the board.
Perry said the district still plans to seek the assistance of their attorney for additional guidance on the matter since the school system was already scheduled for a state hearing July 19.
The board did approve the request by Dr. Perry authorizing the district’s attorney Phillip Hartley, in filing the continuance with the state board of education on behalf of the school district.
Board member Marcus Scott IV said he thought the attorney was not able to represent board members throughout the process since public funds are being used. Dr. Perry said the attorney is allowed to represent the board of education as a whole. Perry said should the state remove board members individual board members would have to seek their own attorney to file an appeal but the district attorney is allowed to represent the board on behalf of the school system.
Scott asked that the board verify the information with the attorney and have it documented.
The board voted 5-2 with Scott and Dr. Yvette Keel opposed.
Under the former process the hearing with the state would determine the next course of action or whether the state school board would make a recommendation to Governor Nathan Deal for the removal of the current board.
In other matters:
LCSS Executive Director of Special Programs Sonja Duncan said that Snelson-Golden Middle School was awarded a $25,000 grant to implement the middle school coding course beginning next year. The grant will cover the equipment and training for teachers and staff in industrial technology. The coding courses will teach the students computer programming coding and the binary language required to communicate with computer applications and software.
LCSS Military Coordinator Melaniann Pass gave an update. She said the military population for the LCSS is 22.98 percent. Pass said she worked in resolving issues and concerns for more than 100 military families and students. She said they’ve implemented the student ambassador program at all the middle and high schools. That program is partially implemented in the elementary schools.