Last week, APS met with about 60 educators who face the most egregious allegations to put an offer on the table: Quit now and avoid receiving a “charge letter,” the first step in the firing process, and one that can stain an educator’s career. Five educators have taken the deal, according to APS.Other employees are considering the offer, said a district spokesman. APS said expected it would take some employees time to make a decision. In the meantime, the district plans to issue charge letters on a case-by-case basis. Superintendent Erroll Davis said Friday the district will start with those who confessed, and other egregious cases.“If in fact they have done these things, if in fact the conclusions are inevitable, I think the benefits of resigning would outweigh the benefits of staying on the payroll for a couple of months,” he said.
Since July, Atlanta Public Schools has been spending about $600,000 a month to pay the salaries of educators placed on administrative leave after their names appeared in a 400-plus page report on cheating. The district has been unable to fire teachers because of complicated state employment laws and a lack of access to critical evidence.Wednesday, Superintendent Erroll Davis said the district worked out an arrangement with District Attorney Paul Howard to view evidence against about 120 accused educators still on the payroll. That means APS can start building cases to terminate those deemed guilty of cheating, and retain those who are cleared.“My intent is to bring these proceedings to an end as quickly as possible,” Davis said. “I am hopeful we can do that by the end of this academic year.”Fulton prosecutors are preparing indictments with charges such as altering public documents, a felony, relating to the cheating scandal and for alleged kickback schemes involving APS vendors, lawyers familiar with the investigation said.
The district is under pressure to resolve the cases before May 15, the deadline for deciding whether to renew teaching contracts. Non-renewal is tantamount to firing.
Atlanta School District Agrees To Repay $363,000 for Cheating
Federal money given to the Atlanta Public Schools will be repaid to the government. The state school Superintendent John Barge told the press that the district has 90 days to return the money, according to the Associated Press.
The State of Georgia investigated over 100 schools involved in a widespread systematic cheating scandal in the Atlanta Public Schools last year that dates back as far as 2001. There were nearly 180 educators and teachers who were accused of either giving students answers on tests or elaborately changing tests answers in order to achieve high scoring in the district.