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Dougherty County School Board sidesteps Westover grade change discipline

The majority of the Dougherty School Board is not in line with the superintendent’s recommendations

Doughtery County School System Attorney Tommy Coleman, left, DCSS Facilities Director Bob Fowler and Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer discuss construction delivery options before the Dougherty Board of Education on Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

Doughtery County School System Attorney Tommy Coleman, left, DCSS Facilities Director Bob Fowler and Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer discuss construction delivery options before the Dougherty Board of Education on Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — The Dougherty County School Board spent more than an hour in executive session Wednesday afternoon to discuss Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely’s recommendations for discipline stemming from mass grade changes at Westover High School.

In the end, no action was taken.

Late last month, an internal investigation by Mosely’s office revealed more than 120 first nine-weeks grade changes in six ninth-grade world history classes taught by one teacher. The Albany Herald obtained copies of student summary grade reports, all of which were from six periods taught by first-year teacher Kevin Martin.

The reports showed that at least 85 percent of the students’ grades had been changed from a failing mark — one as low as zero — to 70. None of the 122 students had a final first nine-weeks grade lower than 70 recorded, although the documents revealed many students had actually failed the first grading term.

Westover Principal William Chunn authorized the grade changes.

Mosely reportedly has suggested three suspensions without pay — five days for Martin, 10 Days for Chunn, 20 days for teacher Kevin Fretwell — and a letter of reprimand for Assistant Principal Brian Collier. A source close to the situation said later that Mosely did not have enough support on the School Board to enforce his decision, and the recommendations did not come up for a decision in the open portion of the meeting.

While the mass grade changes might appear questionable, Chunn may have the law on his side.

Georgia Code Annotated § 20-2-989.20 (c) states: “Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prevent a central office administrator, superintendent, or local school administrator from changing a student’s grade. Any grade change made by a person other than the classroom teacher must be clearly indicated in the student’s school records and must indicate the person responsible for making such grade change.”

According to another source, individual grade change orders are not in the students’ files.

Mosely said he will attempt to garner the votes needed before bringing up the issue again at the board’s next meeting on Monday.

Also Wednesday, the School Board approved more than $70,000 in change orders for Dougherty High School Phase II work, and awarded architectural contracts for renovations at Magnolia Education Center and Sylvester Road School to SRJ Architects of Albany.