One month after being placed on probation, the Warren County Board of Education is making immediate improvements.
At the August board meeting, School Superintendent Carole Jean Carey announced that she and the board chairwoman and vice-chairman had met to discuss the nine recommendations of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, and had agreed to work together to keep the school system's accreditation.
As previously reported by The McDuffie Mirror, SACS investigators spent June 22-23 in Warren County watching video tapes of meetings, interviewing board members, school volunteers and school leaders, and reviewing board minutes. A report, released in mid-July of the findings of the investigation, revealed "ample evidence" to prove the Warren BOE ineffective and at risk of losing their accreditation.
The school system was put on probation for the 2009-2010 school year to give leaders time to work on nine recommendations made by the SACS investigators. Those recommendations include, but are not limited to: trustees must follow all policies and procedures, meetings must maintain a professional decorum, board members must prove their focus is on what is best for Warren County's students, and board members and the superintendent must seek mediation.
"SACS said this mediation was supposed to see if the relationship between the board chair, the board members and the superintendent could be improved so that the business of the school system could be done," Mrs. Carey said in a telephone interview.
And it is that mediation that took place in the meeting prior to the last board meeting. Mrs. Carey said she shared in the open board meeting that she and Chairwoman Clara Roberts both admitted they had "a strong personality," and they would work together to take the school system in the same direction.
"I'm hoping that this relationship can continue to improve and I'm expecting the best and we seem to all want the same thing, and we agree that we are all going in that right direction," Mrs. Carey said.
The SACS investigators will return at the end of November to carry out one of three actions: revoke the system's accreditation, leave the system on probation or remove all sanctions.
"Our schools needed to know that every board member supports them," Mrs. Carey said. "If this agreement doesn't hold, then this board can wrestle with the fact that they've lost their accreditation because of their actions."
Attempts to reach Mrs. Roberts via telephone and e-mail for her input on this agreement were unsuccessful.