Thurmond 5

Interim DeKalb School Superintendent Michael Thurmond told north DeKalb parents on Sept. 11 that the troubled district’s fiscal state had improved significantly since last year.

“I am happy to report today that we have eliminated the $14.7 million deficit we brought forward from 2012,” he told members of the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents Coalition during a morning meeting at Dunwoody High School. “We just closed out [Fiscal Year] 13 with a $9.5 million fund balance. When I arrived in the district, the district was operating with less than $100,000 [in fund balance].”

But he said the district needed $60 million in reserves. “It’s going to take three years to really restore the budget,” he said. “We’re still $50 million away from where we ought to be.”

Thurmond, named interim superintendent in February, also predicted the DeKalb system’s accreditation would be restored by the end of the year. SACS, a regional accreditation agency, placed DeKalb on accreditation probation last year, citing infighting among school board members. In March, Gov. Nathan Deal replaced six board members.

Thurmond reminded his Dunwoody audience that an interim report by the agency found the district had made significant progress in addressing its problems.

“I’m certain we will no longer be on probation at the end of the year,” he said,

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.