Atlanta Schools Accept SACS Probation Status

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    By DORIE TURNER (Associated Press)

    The head of an accrediting agency had harsh words for the Atlanta school board on Monday, Jan. 24, telling members to stop being selfish and do what’s best for the 47,000 students in the district.

    Mark Elgart with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools went before the board, just a week after his organization put the district on probation. He told its squabbling school board to shape up or lose accreditation, which could strip the district of millions in grant money and could put students at risk of not gaining admission to college.

    ”This isn’t about you. It’s about all of the families and their future and their children,” Elgart said. ”Get past the differences that divide you.”

    A board committee voted unanimously Monday before a packed auditorium to accept the SACS report that outlines six actions required by Sept. 30 to keep accreditation. Following an eight hour meeting, the full board voted to accept the report.

    Gov. Nathan Deal earlier named Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and Atlanta attorney Beth Beskin to act as his liaisons with the Atlanta Public Schools.

    They will serve as the governor’s eyes and ears in the system by attending APS board meetings and meetings with SACS and then report back to the governor on the progress the district is making.

    “I am calling on these two leaders to work on behalf of Atlanta’s children,” said Deal. “This week I met with members of the Atlanta delegation and I will make every effort to ensure that our children aren’t harmed by the adults who failed them.”

    In addition to key videos of Atlanta officials and community leaders, a Delta Boeing 777-200LR aircraft used to connect Atlanta nonstop to cities such as Tokyo, Dubai, Johannesburg and Tel Aviv, was christened as the “Spirit of Atlanta” during a celebration held in the shadow of the $1.4 billion Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal currently under construction.

    Delta started out as a small carrier focused on the Southeast when it moved its headquarters from Monroe, La., to Atlanta in 1941.

    In the decades that followed, Delta built the world’s largest connecting hub in Atlanta, and for more than two decades has remained Georgia’s largest private employer and a major economic force in the region.

    With 25,000 employees based in Atlanta, Delta is estimated to pump more than $25 billion into the local economy, and is a major contributor to key community organizations, including the Grady Health Foundation, the Woodruff Arts Center, AID Atlanta, Hands On Atlanta, Habitat for Humanity, CARE, the Carter Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

    “Delta Air Lines and Atlanta have a unique partnership that has been inextricably linked to the success and prosperity of our city and our airport for nearly three quarters of a century,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “The strong relationships among companies such as Delta, state and local elected officials and civic organizations are what make Atlanta not only a global, dynamic city, but a great place to live and do business. Congratulations to Delta Air Lines, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson and all employees on the company’s 70th anniversary as Atlanta’s hometown airline.”

    “Delta is truly an economic force for Georgia,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “It is our biggest employer and its presence here plays a key role in helping us

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