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Clarke Board of Education meets tonight to talk about West Broad School, Cognia investigation

Taylor Gerlach

The Clarke County Board of Education meets tonight for updates on two controversial issues that have plagued the board for several years.

As of midday Thursday, the board’s agenda was short on detail, but it does indicate that members will be discussing two big ticket items, the future of the historic West Broad School site, and the ongoing accreditation evaluation by Cognia.

The West Broad Street School site is home to three buildings that served as segregated schools for Black students during the Jim Crow era. The buildings have been vacant for more than a decade, although various suggestions have been made over the years for potential uses. Last year, school district officials floated a plan to tear down two of the buildings to build an early learning center. That proposal was narrowly defeated last fall.

The Cognia situation has also been a lingering problem for several years. In 2019, embattled then-superintendent Demond Means filed a complaint with Cognia, which accredits Georgia public schools. That prompted an investigation from Cognia, which identified several problem areas in early 2020. Since then, the agency has continued to monitor CCSD’s progress, and has noted improvement in a number of problem areas.

This evening’s meeting follows a public input session on the district’s proposed budget, and begins at 5:30pm.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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