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SACS to School Board: 'Work in a Spirit of Harmony and Cooperation'

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools found no cause for further action following Bartow Board of Education District 4 representative Wanda Cagle Gray's compliant and the school system's response.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has found no cause for further action on a complaint filed by board member Wanda Cagle Gray, who represents District 4.

But, the accrediting body for schools in Georgia and 10 other states recommended the school system take action to promote a functional and cohesive board focused on the best interests of students, according to a copy of the letter, which was published on BartowPolitics.com and is attached to this article.

Gray told Cartersville Patch in June that concerns brought to her by several of her constituents spurred her to , which was based on the .

Two of Gray’s four concerns centered around the use of school system facilities by and Rome Volleyball Club. Her third complaint was that Board Chairman Davis Nelson and Adairsville Middle Schools on behalf of the Coosa River Soil and Water Conservation District, of which he is a field supervisor. The fourth was related to a in February at Berry College in Rome; Gray said she left when the meeting was adjourned and the other board members reconvened and continued without her.

The school system's response to Gray's complaint indicated "one of the board members has exhibited actions that are in violation of [the system's Code of Ethics]," said Jay Wansley, associate state director of AdvancED Georgia, SACS' parent organization, in the letter to Superintendent John Harper dated July 24. 

"Further, your responses were void of plans to address these actions," Wansley continued. "...It is in the best interest of the system for the board to work in a spirit of harmony and cooperation on behalf of the Bartow County community."

The school board has at its discretion the authority to address violations by board members, the letter says.

"Since violations have been cited within your responses, it is recommended the system develop and implement a plan to promote a fully functional board whose members work together and focus on the best interest of the students of Bartow County," Wansley said.

Gray told she expected such an outcome to her compliant.

"It was not surprising. It was based on Dr. Harper's response.. and the purpose of this was to let the public know policy has been broken and regardless of what's been done, it's been broken," she said, according to the newspaper.

In May, Gray, who previously ran on the Republican ticket, announced as an independent. That followed he would qualify to seek the District 4 seat in the Republican primary.

Gray on July 27 filed her petition to qualify as an independent candidate, according to Cartersville UNCUT.

How should the board address alleged violations of its Code of Ethics? What type of plan should the system implement to avoid ethics violations? Tell us in the comments.

For more on the county school board, see our dedicated section, Bartow County Schools: Budget, Board and More.

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Alison Guyton August 02, 2012 at 05:37 PM
What happens when politicians are caught with blatant Ethics violations? What about police officers?? WE DON'T NEED UNETHICAL PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD IN ANY WAY, ELECTED OR HIRED! Period, end of discussion.
Katherine M August 02, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Davis Nelson has worked for SACS for over 20 years so it's no surprise they wouldn't pursue this. Plus their decision was based upon John Harper's interview and of course with Nelson controlling 4 votes on the board and in turn holding Harper's job in their hands, Harper isn't going to tell SACS the truth.
Kimberly August 05, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Harper doesn't tell the truth. period.
Tim A August 10, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Harper and the entire board need dismissed. Just vote whoever has not been on the school board. It will be an improvement.
Tim A August 10, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Harper needs to go.

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