SACS to probe DeKalb County School System finances - KMSP-TV

SACS to probe DeKalb County School System finances

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DeKalb County school officials will open their financial books to investigators from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools on Wednesday.

School officials with DeKalb County say they will cooperate in any way they can with the investigation.
"When people make allegations, it's the responsibility of SACS to look into those allegations," said one DeKalb County school official.

It's why officials from SACS will spend the next couple of days pouring through the fiscal books of the DeKalb County schools. SACS got so many complaints about the district, its leaders decided to take a close look.

"The big concerns are the effectiveness of the school board to govern the school system and the second is the ability of this board to be good stewards to the system's resources, principally the financial resources of the system," said Dr. Mark Elgart of SACS.

Among the items of concern, the district's legal bill which went $10 million over budget and utility costs far exceeding the amount set aside. Elgart says the county is budgeting $5 million on utilities and that the district is spending $10 to $15 million.

Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson vows to co-operate with the SACS investigators. She says DeKalb eliminated more than 300 central office jobs and consolidated other positions to balance the books.

"We not only had to deal with our budget and a deficit, we worked hard to address whatever concerns were brought," said Atkinson.

She wants parents to know that teachers and administrators are 100 percent committed to providing quality education to the children.

"The issues SACS has raised have absolutely nothing to do with what is happening in our classrooms," said Atkinson.

Once the three day investigation is complete, SACS plans on releasing their recommendations to the district in November. Sources tell FOX 5 that a loss of accreditation does not appear something that will likely happen.

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