ALBANY, Ga. — State investigators probing alleged cheating in 2009 by the Dougherty County School System on Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests confirmed that computers were seized from Jackson Heights Elementary School on Thursday.
A source has told The Albany Herald that Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents took possession of a number of computers and that they were looking for memos and emails suggesting a pattern of wrongdoing in regard to CRCT cheating at the school.
"I can only confirm that we have seized items that have evidentiary value," CRCT investigator Richard Hyde said when contacted Thursday afternoon. "I cannot confirm that computers were taken. In fact, I cannot comment what was taken or from where the evidence was seized."
The seizure represents an uptick in the state investigation, which began here on Aug. 8. Just last week, investigators began administering polygraph tests to some witnesses and suspects.
"The items are currently in possession of the GBI and we'll know more next week after we see what we find," Hyde said. "But I can tell you that we are learning more every day because of the cooperation from students, parents, teachers and principals.
"We're getting new leads each day and we are following up on them."
The investigation into the exams administered to first- through eighth-graders in Atlanta and Dougherty County began in August 2010 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 the 56 Atlanta schools. Dougherty County had the state's second-highest number flagged at 14.