The original review found that the board rushed into policy changes and did not properly vet spending decisions. Released in November, it gave the board one year to address these issues. But the agency walked back most of the review’s findings in March. It commended the board for its fiscal responsibility and for following correct procedures when implementing policy changes.
The agency maintained that the board was not working together effectively.
“You are divided,” Cognia CEO Mark Elgart told board members in March. “It’s highly evident.”
Three of the board’s seven members were among the complainants that led to the review. The three Black Democratic members accused the four white Republican members of preventing them from speaking at meetings or adding items to the agenda.
The reversal of most of Cognia’s original criticism did not sit well with those board members.
“I’m glad to see that we’re seeking this additional layer of accreditation, especially in light of Cognia’s inability to adequately provide guidance to a district like ours,” Charisse Davis, one of the board members who complained, said last week.
The Cobb County School District paid $3,000 for the Georgia Accrediting Commission to review its high schools, and will pay $850 annually. Cognia accredits the entire district rather than individual schools. The district pays more than $100,000 for its membership annually.
Although Georgia law does not require that districts be accredited, students must graduate from accredited high schools to take advantage of the state’s college scholarship programs.