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Cobb County Schools to undergo special review by accreditation agency

In a statement to 11Alive a spokesperson said the district was surprised to learn the review because Cognia recently extended its accreditation term 14 months ago.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — In a letter sent to parents Thursday evening, the Cobb County School District said it would be undergoing a special review from its accrediting agency, Cognia.

The district said this comes following a January request that Cognia - formerly known as AdvancED and SACS - conduct an unscheduled review, which was filed by three board of education members - Charisse Davis, Dr. Jaha Howard, and Leroy “Tré” Hutchins.

“The communication I received from Cognia centered upon allegations of political disagreements and intra-personal behavior within the board of education," Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said in a notice to parents.

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He added that while these are serious concerns, an unscheduled special review seemed to be "a very unusual response." He said the district would fully cooperate with Cognia.

The school district provided the January letter that the three board members sent to Cognia, which outlined some of the reasons they wanted a review done. They claim the district was grappling with challenges due to the pandemic. 

And in a March response to Cognia, the superintendent said while the pandemic has presented everyone with challenges, the district has still continued to serve its students. Ragsdale acknowledged he knew there was room for growth, and that he appointed a new interim general counsel who has experience in accreditation and school board governance matters. 

In a statement to 11Alive a spokesperson said the district was surprised to learn the review because Cognia recently extended its accreditation term 14 months ago.

"Following a request for this review from three Board members, and despite the unnecessary waste of taxpayer time and dollars which is otherwise best spent navigating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to meeting our accreditation obligations," the statement said. "Cobb remains among the highest-achieving large districts in the country by remaining focused on individual student success for every Cobb student."