The DeKalb County Board of Education unanimously approved the first amendment to Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson’s employment contract at a special called meeting on Nov. 30.
Atkinson requested the board amend her contract so she would stop receiving her $750-a-month car allowance, according to school spokesman Walter Woods,
“There are district fleet vehicles here, so if she uses her personal vehicle and those vehicles she’s not going to need a car allowance,” Woods said. “It’s going to save the district in the long run–$750 a month for the next three years.”
Additionally, the board approved the hiring of search firm Ray and Associates, which the system previously used in its superintendent search, to find a new chief operating officer (COO) to replace Barbara Colman, who recently retired.
Woods said Carlton Parker is the interim COO until the system is able to hire a permanent one. He said the approved contract will allow the board to pay up to $20,000 to Ray and Associates for the national search.
During the meeting, the board also voted to continue providing legal defense for
seven former board of education members and one current member, Sarah Copelin-Wood, named in the lawsuit against construction firm Heery/Mitchell.
The system also recently announced it has maintained its accreditation status with AdvancED, the system’s accrediting agency, as it prepares for the five-year renewal of its accreditation in March.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), a division of AdvancED, recommended the system remain at the status of “accredited on advisement” as it completes two of eight actions recommended by AdvancED in January.
The system must address completing its strategic plan and establishing a clear line of authority for its internal auditor before the accrediting agency’s next visit.
“The strategic plan, which is ongoing, will be finished early next year…We have an auditor who was hired last year and what we’re trying to determine is the best practices of who he reports to. He needs a clear line of reporting so there are checks and balances and he’s independent and objective,” Woods said.
According to a press release, AdvancED praised the system for completing six of the eight actions this year, including hiring a permanent superintendent, approving a redistricting and consolidation plan, updating operational policies and improving communications.
The system plans to submit a report to AdvancED by Feb. 15, documenting the steps it has taken to address the remaining actions. AdvancED will assess those steps during an on-site review of the school system’s five-year accreditation status, scheduled to take place in March.
Woods said the timetable for completing the remaining two action items was “as soon as possible.”