JACKSON – The Commission of School Accreditation unanimously voted to drop the accreditation status of the Carroll County School District from accredited to probation.
During their regularly scheduled meeting, Executive Director Dr. JoAnn Malone said there was an investigative audit done on the Carroll County School District, and the district received the results of the audit.
There were several findings in the audit where the district was not in compliance with state law. They ranged from personnel salary, the listing of the then-Security Director, having a certified stand-in when the principal is out, board member conduct, the oversight of the district’s summer program to several other infractions.
According to the State Board’s policy, it states: “When a school district has been assigned a PROBATION or WITHDRAWN accreditation status, the school district with assistance from the MDE shall develop a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) with defined timelines in which to correct the district's deficiencies. The SBE implements the program of development in each district assigned a PROBATION or WITHDRAWN status in accordance with Miss. Code Ann. § 37-17-6(11).”
It goes on to state: “The school district is required to submit a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) within sixty (60) days of notification. The plan must stipulate what will be done to remove the deficiencies and the timeline required. The plan must be approved by the local school board as documented by official minutes and bear the signatures of the school board chairperson and district superintendent. When corrective action has been implemented to remove a citation, the school district must submit documentary evidence confirming such to the Office of Accreditation. Assigned MDE staff may conduct follow-up visits as necessary to verify corrective action and compliance."
No one from the Carroll County School District attended the meeting in Jackson.
When asked if the district requested a hearing, Westerfield said they didn’t request one in writing.
“But, they did send out their corrective action plan,” Dr. JoAnn Malone said, adding that the plan covered some of the things in the 31-page audit but did not cover everything.
Westerfield said the Department of Education would work with the Carroll County School District to the things they outlined in their corrective action plan to come into compliance.
The 31-page audit had three deadlines the district has to meet: things that need to change immediately, things they have until November 30, 2019, to change and things they have until December 30, 2019, to change.
In the district’s response, it responded to the portions about board policy, special called meetings being held at the J.Z. George Band Hall now so the public can attend, board member visits to schools and purchasing a PA system and ensuring that all information is accurate and removing all inaccurate information.
In the letter, it stated that: “The board attorney strenuously explained the importance of school board members following the ‘Chain of Command’ procedure as well as conveying any complaints received to the Superintendent of Education.”
The board also approved a contract with Mr. George Gilreath to help the school board set up a new strategic plan with the district. In its letter, the district stated it does have a strategic plan that was approved on October 8, 2015, and is good until December 31, 2019.
The letter states: “The district is asking for the deadline on this item to be postponed to a time in the spring semester to allow for the new superintendent, who will begin January 1, 2020, in order to become knowledgeable of the district and to work with the stakeholders to create a new Strategic Plan for Carroll County School District.”
The district has 30 days to appeal the decision of the Commission of School Accreditation.