Bibb County school Superintendent Romain Dallemand met Monday morning with representatives of the agency that accredits local schools to discuss an upcoming board governance training session.
Dallemand contacted the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools last week and requested a meeting in advance of the boards expected governance training next month, said Jennifer Oliver, the organizations vice president for communications.
The meeting of Dallemand and SACS officials lasted about an hour at SACS offices in Alpharetta.
There, Dallemand told representatives he wanted the upcoming SACS training to focus on school board governance, which is how board members interact with the administration and make decisions for the district.
Bibb County schools governance and leadership is one of the five major standards SACS will consider when it visits the district in April and May. The visit is part of a review that takes place every five years to determine whether the district is meeting education standards.
In the midst of preparing for the SACS visit, the district is facing several pending lawsuits and the possibility of Dallemand leaving the system. Last week, sources told The Telegraph that Dallemand approached board members about a possible buyout of his contract.
A Bibb County Superior Court judge is scheduled Friday to hear arguments in two pending lawsuits against the system.
One is a whistleblower lawsuit -- filed in December and amended earlier this month -- by former schools Chief Financial Officer Ron Collier. The other lawsuit challenges the legality of Dallemands contract.
Monday, Oliver said she expected a normal accreditation visit in Bibb that would include interviews with board members, district staff, the superintendent and community members.
Bibb schools spokesman Donald Porter said Dallemand brought up accreditation issues with SACS officials Monday, along with governance and leadership. But Porter said he did not have further details.
Local school boards are required to undergo governance training every year, according to state law. Oliver said Dallemand told SACS representatives he wanted to work toward meeting those requirements.
The superintendent shared that was his motivation for setting something up, Oliver said.
Board governance training would cover issues such as the roles and responsibilities of board members and information about Georgias open meetings laws, Oliver said.
Oliver said her office receives six to 12 requests for board governance training every year.
Board member Lester Miller, elected last fall, said he understood that Dallemand was trying to arrange a meeting with SACS officials but didnt know any specifics.
Governance training helps bring new board members up to speed on how to work ethically and cooperate with other members, while it gives veterans a reminder of how to conduct themselves professionally, interim school board President Sue Sipe said.
With the accreditation team coming in April, board members need to do what they can to make sure the governance issue is in order.
We just need to put our best foot forward, Sipe said.
To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 744-4331.