After months of delayed hearings, the State Board of Education met to decide the fate of the Hancock County Board of Education. The hearing only lasted 15 minutes but ultimately kept the board intact.
According to the state, the system was in jeopardy of losing its accreditation by a national agency, known as AdvancED.
In a follow-up visit this past May, the district earned its accreditation back according to a July 3rd report.
The report states, “The AdvancED Monitoring Review Team recognized areas in which the district has made progress. Specifically, the Board had completed its policy manual, implemented a process for the review and addition of board policy, participated in training and had reduced the number of called board meetings.”
State Board Chair Mike Royal says Thursday’s hearing was just a formality and only dealt a specific part of Georgia Code.
“I don’t think Hancock County has fixed their issues,” Royal said.
He’s not sure much has changed with the school system.
“The progress from the review has been minimal. It has been the minimum that has to be done to come off of the probation. They have not knocked the socks off it from any measurable standard," Royal said. “What has been disappointing to me is the lack of a sense of urgency. Every child in that chair only has one opportunity for this and we have to have a sense of urgency when dealing with this.
Royal says their hands were tied with the decision since the district is once again accredited. He says this isn’t the only way they can hold the board accountable, and they will in the future.
In 2015, AdvancED gave the district eight areas to improve on before they returned. They include following their own policies and following their code of ethics.
In their follow-up report last fall, AdvancED says after 13 months, the district has made adequate improvements in just 3 of those areas.
"The students in the Hancock County Schools are suffering from poor oversight and inadequate attention to their needs," the report said
That’s why the state planned a hearing on whether to remove the current board from office in hopes of turning things around.
Governor Deal suspended all five members of the Dooly County school board last November.