PICKENS — The worry over the accreditation of the School District of Pickens County has been laid to rest by AdvancED with reaccreditation being recommended, but the group’s final report does cite issues to be addressed by leadership in a short period of time.
The report itself is a breakdown of observations by AdvancED staffers, review of plans, budgets, minutes and overall performance of the district and School District of Pickens County scored well in most categories, even being commended for some of its most Powerful Practices. There were, however, some items that needed immediate addressing.
According to a statement released by the district, there were two areas the school board was cited for needed changes and improvement, both having to deal with their role within the operations of the district itself.
According to the AdvancED report, the recommendations were to ensure “… that decisions and actions of the governing body are ethical, free of conflict of interest, and in accordance with defined roles and responsibilities” and also to “adhere to appropriate roles and responsibilities for the Board of Trustees, distinguishing between the system administrative roles and the Board of Trustees legislative roles.”
“We’re still in the asking questions mode right now, talking with our attorney and the consultant to uncover what it is we’re supposed to be doing,” said Alex Saitta, vice chairman of the school board of trustees. “I’m not exactly sure what that particular language means or is referring to, but whatever it is we have to do to comply, I’m confident we’ll make that happen in the next few months as required.”
AdvancED did not address questions put to them to explain the language of the report, but one member of Pickens County’s school board thinks it’s fairly clear what the report is stating.
“In my opinion, it comes down to the board overstepping its bounds,” board member Judy Edwards said. “At times there are or have been members that got involved in matters for the district and not the board or decide to air their grievances through blogs and the media. It’s counterproductive and I believe that’s what the report is trying to put forth.”
To this point there has been no confirmation on who actually hired an outside consultant to assist the board meet AdvancED’s requirements or what that cost is either to the state or county if they are the responsible parties. Even the board isn’t sure of the answers to these questions.
“It may have been the district or even AdvanED that brought the consultant in,” Saitta said. “Either way, I don’t know who hired them or what the cost associated with it is, if the district is responsible.”