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Too soon for Governor to act on Clayton schools | Education

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Too soon for Governor to act on Clayton schools

ATLANTA, Ga. -- "I am concerned."

Governor Nathan Deal was understated in response to a call for help from the chair of the Clayton County Board of Education. 

The troubled school system had gotten a warning letter from SACS, the agency that accredits the school system -- saying, among other things, that "much conflict between and among board members" puts the "school system's current and future accreditation in jeopardy."

"We are not at the stage where a governor's action or involvement is appropriate at this point in time," Deal told reporters at the Capitol Thursday.

The governor has the power to remove and reappoint the fractious Clayton County school board in order to keep the school system from losing accreditation-- but only if SACS takes another step, and puts the school system on probation.

Clayton County went through the same thing not so long ago. In 2007, SACS began investigating virtually the same allegations of unethical board behavior, albeit with a different school board. Within a year, Clayton County lost its accreditation. 

Some three hundred teachers left the school system, as did more than three thousand students.

The Governor said that he would encourage Clayton county's school board members to find a way around another destructive loss of accreditation.

"That seems to be the crux of what the accrediting agency is concerned about, is cooperating and working for the betterment of the system. I would certainly encourage them to do that," Deal said. 

"We don't want them to have to go through what they went through before with loss of accreditation."

Clayton County school board chairman Dr. Pam Adamson said "we feel like we've done all that we can do." The best sign of any new enlightenment on Clayton County's school board may come Monday, when the board meets next.

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