Wake tells AdvancED it’s making accreditation fixes

khui@newsobserver.comNovember 2, 2012 

Wake County school leaders are telling a Georgia-based accreditation group that they’ll soon complete all the changes they’ve been required to make to restore the district’s high schools to full accreditation.

In a report released Friday, school officials pointed to how the school board adopted a strategic plan in August, one of the last two actions required by AdvancED. School officials say they’ll soon finish the last unresolved step by passing a policy regulating the use of resolutions so the board doesn’t use them to make major changes in policy.

But what could decide the accreditation issue is how Wake responds to a complaint filed by the Wake County Taxpayers Association accusing the board’s Democratic majority of mismanaging the system through actions such as firing former Superintendent Tony Tata. School officials say they’ve been given until Dec. 18 to respond to those charges.

Jennifer Oliver, a spokeswoman for AdvancED, said no decision about accreditation would be made until after Wake submits the second response in December.

Another factor that could affect accreditation is recent news reports about how school board member Debra Goldman had named fellow board member Chris Malone as a suspect in 2010 in a burglary of her home. A recently leaked police report also shows that Malone told police they had a “very heated” physical relationship, while Goldman said she rebuffed his romantic overtures.

Wake doesn’t address the Goldman-Malone issue in the new response to AdvancED.

Wake has been trying to hold on to the accreditation because it can affect the ability of high-school students to get into college and get scholarships and financial aid.

The accreditation of Wake’s high schools have been under review since the state NAACP filed a complaint in March 2010.

In March 2011, AdvancED issued a scathing report in which it lowered the accreditation to “warned status,” meaning AdvancED had identified serious problems that it felt needed addressing.

In that report, AdvancED accused the Republican school board majority of losing the community’s trust. AdvancED recommended several changes, including making sure board members had information on items before meetings and not introducing resolutions at the table without advance notice.

Wake, under Tata’s direction, moved to respond to AdvancED’s concerns, and the accreditation was raised to “advised status” in January. Wake was given until Nov. 1 to provide an update.

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