ALBANY — CRCT investigators Mike Bowers and Robert Wilson spent the last week in the city, interviewing administrators and teachers as the CRCT cheating probe of 11 Dougherty County elementary schools enters the final days of the investigative process.
“Robert and I have reinterviewed a couple of people in some troubling areas,” Wilson, a former DeKalb County attorney general, said. “We’re trying to get to the truth; Mike and I are trying to see if we can figure it out. It’s been really interesting.”
Bowers said that investigators have conducted nearly 600 interviews — some multiple times with certain individuals — and that they have begun to write their report for Gov. Nathan Deal.
“We ought to wrap up the interviews next week,” Bowers, a former Georgia attorney general, said. “We still have to fully analyze the data, but we are about 99 percent finished with the investigative work. We hope to have the final report finished by early December.”
Howard Stiller, the attorney representing members of the Georgia Association of Educators, said that principals and teachers caught up in the probe’s net have begun to retain council.
“I’d just like to say that the majority of Dougherty County’s principals and teachers are not involved with or accused of any misconduct,” Stiller said. “And I cannot tell you the number of people who will face further legal difficulties because I honestly don’t know.”
Stiller added that Chris Cohilas will represent PAGE (Professional Association of Georgia Educators) members, while several non-union members have retained counsel independently.
Bowers said recently that as many as 10 principals and 50 teachers could be caught up in the investigation.
Dougherty County School Board Attorney Tommy Coleman is currently putting together a list of between 10 and 15 names of potential administrative tribunal members to submit to DCSS Superintendent Joshua Murfree, who will then select members of the panel.
Reportedly, no Dougherty County residents will be on the tribunal.
Once the investigators’ report is made public, school employees named in the report will be brought before the tribunal, which will then make recommendations to the Dougherty School Board.
The board will then make a determination on each individual.
“You’re going to have stuff to write about for quite a while,” Stiller said. “They (the employees) will still have an appeals process that can go all the way to Superior Court.”