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Bartow County School Board members, Supt. speak frankly about allegations
by Monica Burge
October 02, 2012 04:37 PM | 3454 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) declined to investigate the Bartow County School Board, citing the issues raised as “a local matter,” allegations of wrongdoing by board members continue to swirl.

Wanda Cagle Gray, who has been vocal in her quest for a SACS investigation, said the issue “will not be over until an investigation takes place.”

“Until this board stops doing what they want to do, the taxpayers will come and ask questions along with me,” Cagle Gray said. “I could have remained silent and it would probably go away but I would be just as guilty to allow this to happen if I do remain silent.”

After the meeting, which was held Sept. 24, Superintendent Dr. John Harper said SACS has already spoken.

“There are four board members who have listened to what SACS had to say and there are some people that obviously disagree,” Harper said. “They believe there are issues here. Maybe at some point in time, SACS will come in and do an investigation…I don’t think they’re going to find anything different than before.”

Harper said involving SACS threatens the school system’s accreditation.

“I’ll tell you, when you call in SACS to remove accreditation from the school system, which means that our kids aren’t going to qualify for HOPE scholarships or maybe not attend the college or university of their choice, that’s not appropriate,” Harper said.

Harper said although SACS has spoken, allegations of violations by board members continue to circulate in part because of a newspaper advertisement paid for by Taxpayers for an Ethical Bartow which alleges wrongdoing and the website, www.bartowforabetterboe.com, run by Concerned Taxpayers of Bartow County, which has detailed text messages and a recorded phone conversation allegedly involving School Board Vice Chair Angie Cornett.

During the meeting, Cornett commented on what she called “personal attacks” that have emerged in recent months since the removal of a former principal of Kingston Elementary.

“Let it be known that this board position does not come before my family,” Cornett said. “I will defend and protect my family and I do not hold back in the process.”

Following the meeting, school board chairman Davis Nelson said the real issue has nothing to do with how the board conducts business.

“The issue is personal,” Nelson said. “It’s a personal attack. The Board is only in trouble because one person has a personal problem. And I hate it because she could be a good contributor.”
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