Albany Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards on Thursday morning appointed CRCT investigators Mike Bowers and Robert Wilson as special assistant district attorneys.
The move will add subpoena power to the team investigating alleged CRCT cheating in 2009 in the Dougherty County School System.
"These appointments will enable them to issue subpoenas and access documents to aid them in their investigation," Edwards said of Bowers and Wilson
Edwards added the appointments were not unusual.
"The investigators also asked for the same appointments in the Atlanta probe," Edwards said. "And it is my desire for a thorough and complete investigation according to the desires of the governor."
Bowers confirmed that the investigative team has been issuing the subpoenas all week.
"I really don't know how many (subpoenas) we've issued, but this is really just standard procedure," Bowers, a former Georgia Attorney General, said. "These subpoenas are issued to people we need to talk to a second or third time. The initial interviews were held at the schools, the next interviews will be held at our command post (at the State Patrol office on US 19.)"
Investigator Richard Hyde said "several dozen subpoenas have been served since Monday, many to those teachers who have refused to cooperate with investigators."
Bowers added that the subpoenas are intended to require a physical presence and not to strong-arm people into telling the truth under the threat of perjury.
"Anytime some one is questioned in a state investigation and doesn't tell the truth, that is a felony, subpoena or no subpoena," Bowers said.
Some of the subpoenaed teachers are members of the local Georgia Association of Educators and are represented by attorney Howard Stiller.
"The teachers fall into one of three categories," Stiller said. "Those that are members of the GAE, those who are members of PAGE (Professional Association of Georgia Educators) and those who belong to neither. I am representing the GAE members."
Stiller declined to reveal exactly how many GAE members have been subpoenaed, but said "let's just say it is educators in the plural."
Bowers indicated he was pleased with the progress and speed of the investigation so far.
"The investigation is moving along very well and we are getting full cooperation from the school system," Bowers said. "The investigation is moving along quickly at a rapid rate, but I think some of it is due to the fact that this is not as big an undertaking as it was in Atlanta."
The investigation into the exams administered to first- through eighth-graders in Atlanta and Dougherty County began last August at the direction of then-Gov. Sonny Perdue. At issue is the number of erasures on the 2009 CRCTs in which wrong answers were corrected.
State officials were concerned that at some of the schools there were too many of those corrections, and eventually focused on Atlanta and Dougherty County.
The findings of state investigations into Atlanta's school districts were announced July 5. Among other things, the governor's report found cheating in 44 of the 56 Atlanta schools examined and said that 178 teachers and principals in the schools had been involved in the cheating or should have known it was going on.
A preliminary probe in February of last year flagged 56 Atlanta schools. Dougherty County had the state's second-highest number at 14 flagged, more than half of the system's 26 schools.