*One of the nation’s top accrediting agencies placed Atlanta Public Schools on probation Tuesday, giving its fractious school board nine months to shape up or force the ultimate penalty on thousands of students: loss of accreditation.

The announcement, which set off a chain reaction of worry and condemnation in one of Georgia’s most visible school systems, had nothing to do with the system’s academics.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools focused entirely on the governance of the city’s school system by its elected board, which was warned in October that members’ infighting had reached a dangerous level.

Losing accreditation can affect students’ eligibility for scholarship money, including Georgia’s HOPE scholarship, college acceptances and federal funding. It also could depress property values throughout Atlanta and scare away companies that are considering a relocation to the city.

Read MORE at ajc.com.