Mar 11, 2022 - News

Mixed reactions arise over Cognia's Cobb reversal

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cognia, the accreditation body that hit the Cobb County School District with several areas for improvement, backpedaled on its special review team’s findings.

But not everyone is breathing a sigh of relief.

Catch up quick: Cognia conducted the special review after Democratic Board of Education members, parents and community members raised concerns about how the board was governed and how the district spent its money.

  • Cognia CEO Mark Elgart said Monday that he voided most of the review's findings because the all-volunteer team didn’t consider information from the district that disputed claims about how it spends taxpayer money.
  • However, Cognia holds that the board still needs to improve its governance and how board members work together.

What they’re saying: Cobb parent Laura Judge tells Axios that now that the bulk of the report is invalid, she believes the four Republicans on the board will continue shutting out the three Democratic members by limiting what can be placed on meeting agendas.

  • “It’s really disappointing that certain members can keep doing what they are doing by silencing some parts of the community through their actions,” she said.

The other side: Not everyone is disappointed in Cognia’s decision. Parent Lesley Litt says Cognia “made some mistakes and owning up to it will earn them some respect from the district.”

Sen. Lindsey Tippins, a critic of Cognia’s special review, introduced a bill that would allow agencies to evaluate districts only on financial management policies and student academic performance — but not on school board member behavior. He said he expects his legislation will be voted on by Tuesday.

  • “When you look at how important an accreditation process is to the health and well being and reputation for a school district and, by their own admission, if you have unsupervised volunteers coming out with these types of reports, that is absolutely unconscionable,” he says.

Yes, but: Despite what Cognia says, Watching the Funds – Cobb member and parent Heather Tolley-Bauer said it will continue demanding transparency from the district about its spending.


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