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.”