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BOE to hold special meeting

CRCT report, tribunals and other fallout expected to be discussed.

ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County School Board will conduct a special called meeting this afternoon at 5:15 at the school administration board room.

The topic of the meeting is expected to center around the governor’s CRTC cheating report, administrative tribunals and other fallout resulting from the scandal.

“This is going to be a difficult period for our school system and for the school board,” BOE member Darrel Ealum said. “We have to keep the people informed of this process, and several other members of the board do not intend to be left in the dark on this process. It will be easy to hide behind these tribunals, and we don’t intend to let that happen.”

The governor’s 293-page CRCT report, released last month, accuses 11 principals and 38 other DCSS employees with “misconduct, cheating or failure of duty” resulting from test erasures in 2009.

School board attorney Tommy Coleman said he expects several resignations before this afternoon’s called board meeting.

The school system has nine administrative tribunal members in place and will likely add several more members, depending on how many of the 49 accused request hearings.

However, if the timeline of the Atlanta cheating hearings is any indication, the situation in Dougherty County will not be resolved any time soon.

The Atlanta report was released in October of last year with 182 names of principals and teachers. The Atlanta Public Schools decided to hold hearings before the state Public Standards Commission instead of tribunals.

The PSC heard several cases before Fulton County District Attorney’s Paul Howard’s office stepped in in November and ordered a halt to the hearings until his office had finished its investigations of possible criminal misconduct.

As of Tuesday, there was no word when the Atlanta hearings would resume, and there is also no timetable for resolving the DCSS situation.

Attorney Chris Cohilas of Watson Spence represents “around 15” Professional Association of Georgia Educators members and individual educators.

“My first impression after reading the report was that I was thankful the majority of my clients were vindicated by the findings of the report,” Cohilas said. “The investigators had a tough task involving a very important subject, and my clients have a right to a hearing.

“There are assertions in the report that are very conclusory, and it does not benefit us to comment further. We will make our cases and leave it up to the Board of Education and the tribunals.”

Attorney Howard Stiller, who represents a combination of eight Georgia Educators Association members and individuals, said his first impression of the local CRCT report reminded him of Atlanta’s.

“I thought it was a very ambitious report from the standpoint of that it outlined quite a bit of alleged misconduct,” Stiller said. “But right now we are in a holding pattern waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Comments

rock 2 years, 3 months ago

When Ealum speaks all should listen. One day he will actually say something original, profound and the truth. One can only hope.

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Moe 2 years, 3 months ago

My prediction is that they try to place as much focus and attention on the CRTC report to divert scrutiny from the free lunch scandal (Principal with $90,000 salary getting free lunch and Velvet Riggins). Murphree wants all of the teachers fired, but gave 10 day paid suspension to principal who stole!!

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 3 months ago

Wonder if this will keep the "cheaters" from being in class on Thursday morning.

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Cartman 2 years, 3 months ago

Not one guilty party should remain. Similar conduct at any job is grounds for termination of employment. These teachers of children should be held to a higher standard - not a lower one.

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rock 2 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Amazed2 2 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully something productive, informative and positive will come from the Specially called meeting but I have a hard time taking this board serious as long as Velvet Riggins is seated. She should at least temporarily step down until she resolves the Criminal Charges pending against her for Free Lunch Fraud.

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iko 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree. The school lunch program is the bigger scandal and I'll be very surprised if we ever see an audit of it.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 3 months ago

People keep saying that they "are expecting resignations" prior to class starting back in 2012. But nobody has asked for resignations and you must "inspect what you expect".

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waltspecht 2 years, 3 months ago

I will wait and see before I comment. At least they are attempting to show a proactive force in place. Maybe James Bush will not let down those that served with him in the NAM by playing politics. If your memory will recall James, politics is what cost us that war and got a bunch of our generation dead. Do the right thing, not the expected thing.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 3 months ago

If they do not do something, they are going to lose Federal Funds. If you think the lunch room scandal is bigger then you are dead wrong. Kids steal milk and other products all the time and nothing is done or do they care. The robbing of the education of students could easily result in many lawsuits. That is next.

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reb_arty1863 2 years, 3 months ago

Darell Eaulum???? Remember when he tried to run for a lee county elected position and was proven that he resided on honeysuckle rd in Do. Co.???? AKA school bus rd. A Cheater judging cheaters and thieves???? What fine moral characters are on the school board.

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agirl_25 2 years, 3 months ago

Interesting you bring up moral character. Don't these people have any moral character? Do they even know the meaning of moral character? I really wonder sometime. The things they do amaze me. They lie, cheat and steal, openly, and when they are caught red handed they deny it or come up with some outlandish excuse or no excuse at all and just act like it never happened. I think the thing that disgusts me the most is that they are so open about it when they are doing it and when they are caught they act so surprised. But then in the case of the principal who lied on the application to get free lunches for her child...that is just disgusting.......to cheat and lie like that...how can she hold her head up among her peers, unless her peers are all liars and cheats too. Have these people no pride? Does it not bother them to steal? Maybe she doesn't see it as stealing but she stole from me and from you and from every taxpayer. I want her punished for stealing from me.

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jhendricks 2 years, 3 months ago

As a point of fact, Darrel Ealum did legally establish his residency in Lee County in 2002 when he ran for District 137 state representative against Ed Rynders and Ida Chambers. Ealum was declared eligible to run in that Republican primary election as a Lee County resident. He and Rynders qualified for a Sept. 10, 2002, runoff election, which Rynders won by 495 votes. Rynders went on to defeat Democrat Craig Mathis in November 2002. -- Jim Hendricks, Editor

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 3 months ago

"School board attorney Tommy Coleman said he expects several resignations before this afternoon’s called board meeting." Really? Really? I bet they wait till they r forced out, no one is gonna resign! Who's he kidding?

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TheBoss 2 years, 3 months ago

I expect the guy that broke into my house will turn himself in before the police catch him. Yea right, Shinedownfan, I am with you on this.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 3 months ago

Is there going to be a follow up story about the meeting last night?

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LuLu 2 years, 3 months ago

It's tonight. I don't know why the article says it was last night.

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LuLu 2 years, 3 months ago

Also, it's at 5:15, which is after work hours for most people. The midday time of these meetings is frequently an excuse for not going, so I hope people will take this opportunity and innundate the place with concerned citizens. There's no excuse not to have an SRO crowd this time.

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whattheheck 2 years, 3 months ago

This type of session is almost always an executive session which is closed so the time makes no difference in this case.

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rock 2 years, 3 months ago

How can we be concerned with the school lunch program right now? This is not the bigger issue! The failure of the School Board to oversee the system, the lying and cheating of educators about the education that is provided to our children, The years of creating uneducated, welfare and or drug kids, just to meet numbers is inexcuseable. A few dollars is nothing now in comparison. She (Riggins) is just another example of the criminal mind set that has INFECTED the school board. She has been charged and will face prosecution, but what baffles me is why is she still allowed to be on the board and make decision concerning other criminals. I did not think that the DCSS was, in fact, run by prison justice.

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