SACS officials make midyear visit to DeKalb schools

by: Erica Byfield Updated:

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The agency that put the DeKalb County school system on probation visited the district on Thursday.

Channel 2's Erica Byfield spoke to School Board Chairman Melvin Johnson minutes after he finished his interview with monitors from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, or SACS.

"The monitors are here to determine the progress that we are making. They wanted to know exactly what we are doing to address the action items, and they wanted to know specifically what we are doing related to the budget," Johnson said.

In December 2012, SACS officials put the state's third largest district on probation for issues including school board governance.

This week's visit marks the district's midyear visit.

The day the district's probationary status was announced, the educators learned they would have to meet with SACS leaders in May and December 2013.

A few months ago, Gov. Nathan Deal removed six veteran school board members and picked six replacements.

Johnson told Byfield he told the SACS monitors about the school board's new "norms," or professional standards, that they all agreed to follow, and he explained the board members' commitment to the district's 99,000 students.

"Everything we do, every decision we make, every dollar we spend should be directed towards student learning," Johnson said.

SACS officials will be in town Thursday and Friday, as well.

Johnson said they will interview all the district's stakeholders, including the superintendent, board members, teachers and students.