DeKalb County goes back to school -- on probation

DeKalb County goes back to school -- on probation

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

School bells will ring early for thousands of metro area children who are heading back to school Monday morning. Classes also begin in other major school districts, including Fayette, Hall, Fulton and Spalding

DeKalb ranks as Georgia's third largest public school district. In time for the start of school, there will be interpreters on-hand Monday – the first day of school – to help parents who do not speak English as a primary language get their sons and daughters enrolled for school.

It's one part of the new optimistic atmosphere surrounding the DeKalb County school district, FOX 5 Atlanta's Marc Teichner reports.

"We are turning back time. You learn from your mistakes," Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond said.

DeKalb County Schools are noted for starting the new school year on academic probation. But, school officials that FOX 5 spoke to say the worst is over.

Facing a huge deficit when he took office, Thurmond says Georgia's third-largest district took corrective action and righted its financials.

Last May, Thurmond's team found a missing $27 million, resulting in a budget surplus. Those funds are being funneled back into the DeKalb County public schools.

Yet, despite the seeming light at the end of the tunnel, the journey from last year for DeKalb has been a tough one. The DeKalb County School Board was deemed dysfunctional, leading the district's accrediting agency to place DeKalb on probation

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal response d by removing six of the nine seated Board members.

Thurmond says the new Board is working hard to regain the district's full accreditation. Despite some victories and consistent hard work, challenges do remain. Thurmond said the new board is committed to saving the district's accreditation.

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