DeKalb schools extend contract with PR firm

A crisis communications firm is part of DeKalb County schools’ attempt to salvage the district’s reputation as it struggles to keep its accreditation.

The school board voted unanimously Friday to extend a contract with Atlanta firm Dickerson Communications. The $18,750 contract is for crisis communication services from Sept. 1-Oct. 15, interim superintendent Ramona Tyson said.

The district has already paid Dickerson Communications $25,000 from May 9-Aug. 31.

Dickerson will be in charge of overseeing communications following the indictments of the former superintendent and an ongoing Southern Association of Colleges and Schools inquiry, along with allegations of conflict of interest and nepotism.

The district laid off its internal communications staff earlier this year as part of $104 million in budget cuts.

Tyson said the district is seeking a more experienced staff and attempted to hire two new public relations officers, but they all wanted salaries too high. Instead, the district will issue a request for proposal for a private public relations firm for the year.

Dickerson will handle communications until that bid process can be completed, Tyson said.