By Special to the Daily World
On Tuesday, the state attorney general’s office put the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education on a year’s probation, saying the board has committed violations related to open meetings and public records laws.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the board has agreed that board members and key district staff members will take additional training about state law. Senior Assistant Attorney General Stefan Ritter says his office will monitor the board to make sure it complies.
In a report, state investigators said former Atlanta Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall and former Deputy Superintendent Kathy Augustine illegally suppressed a report by a testing expert.
An open meetings violation happened in April, when Gov. Nathan Deal summoned the board, Hall and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to the Capitol for a private meeting.
In addition, Atlanta school officials say 41 educators accused in a cheating scandal have resigned or retired.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that, according to district data, 13 educators have left since the state issued a scathing report detailing cheating. The report alleged cheating on standardized tests dating back to 2001 in nearly half of the district’s 100 schools.
Officials say 28 educators left before the report was issued. The report implicated 178 educators in what is the nation’s largest cheating scandal. Of those educators who have left, 13 are school principals implicated in the cheating investigation.
Interim Superintendent Erroll Davis sent a message to employees named in the report earlier this month demanding they resign or be fired. School employees who are fired are entitled to a hearing under state law.
The Georgia Board of Education also delayed its vote on whether to remove members of the troubled Atlanta school board, while recommending to keep the Coffee County school board in place.
The state board voted Tuesday on a consent order agreed to by the state Department of Education and Atlanta’s school board. The state board will hold a new hearing for Atlanta before Nov. 4.
Gov. Nathan Deal will rule on the state board’s recommendation on Coffee County at a later date.
The hearings are part of a state law that took effect July 1 permitting the governor to remove members of local school boards if their districts are in danger of losing accreditation. Both districts are on probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.