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Sept. 2-8, 2013

No ‘magic shield’ protects agencies targeted by investigators

No 'magic shield' protects agencies targeted by investigators
January 5, 2012 --

Exactly three years ago today, I requested records of credit card statements for former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill. A week or two later, after someone let it slip that the sheriff’s office had a bank account that other county officials didn’t know about, I asked for those records too.

I’m still waiting. Legally, though, there’s no valid reason that I should be.

Sam Williams, Metro Atlanta Chamber prez: $841,602

Sam Williams, Metro Atlanta Chamber prez: $841,602
July 22, 2011 --

Fellow travelers Vincent Fort and Jim Wooten are among those who think Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, needs to resign over the chamber’s complicity in covering up the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. If he does, Williams will leave behind an annual salary nearing 7 figures.

APS croons ‘Your Cheating Heart’ to 12 principals

APS croons 'Your Cheating Heart' to 12 principals
August 6, 2010 --

Superintendent Beverly Hall has reassigned principals at 12 Atlanta schools suspected of widespread cheating on the 2009 CRCT test and referred the names of 108 employees to state investigators. The actions were announced at 4:56 p.m. Friday, widely regarded as the ideal time to send out news if you want minimal coverage and no pesky reporters calling with questions.

Test scores questioned at 1 in 10 GA schools

Test scores questioned at 1 in 10 GA schools
February 10, 2010 --

One in 10 Georgia public schools showed a suspicious number of changed answers on the 2009 Criterion Referenced Competency Test. The state Board of Education may order local investigations and monitoring of the 2010 CRCTs to “eliminate future problems and help students who have been adversely affected by test tampering,” said Kathleen Mathers, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. We’ve got the list of schools.

Atlanta schools top peers – by far – in $100K+ salaries

Atlanta schools top peers - by far - in $100K+ salaries
January 19, 2010 --

Nearly 1,000 employees in five local school districts earned $100,000 or more in 2008-09, with the heaviest concentration by far in Atlanta Public Schools, an analysis of salary data shows. Administrative salaries face the knife across metro Atlanta as districts try to tighten budgets without harming classroom instruction. DeKalb last year paid more $100,000+ salaries — 223 — than any other Georgia district, followed by Fulton, Gwinnett, Atlanta and Cobb. For its size, though, Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall‘s district had more large salaries than the others.

Julie Lewis, Clayton County schools’ general counsel: $247,554

January 19, 2010 --

Earning nearly a quarter-million dollars, Julie Lewis ranked as Georgia’s best-paid staff attorney for a local school board in 2009, state auditor’s records show. Lewis pulled in $31,000 more than Atlanta Public Schools’ best-paid attorney (whose name was not disclosed) and $87,000 more than Jack Lance with Rockdale County schools.

APS: No ‘concrete’ evidence of cheating on 5th-grade tests at Deerwood

August 21, 2009 --

Atlanta’s public school system has found no “concrete, non-statistical evidence” of cheating on fifth-grade CRCT tests last year at Deerwood Academy. State officials in June said a disproportionate number of erasures suggested Deerwood students’ answers had been changed improperly. But attorney Penn Payne, hired to investigate the case for APS, blamed the discrepancies today on “negligence in record keeping, lack of energy and diligence in following the rules, and supervisory failure.” Read on to download the full report.

ATL schools fight $18 million hit from new TAD bill

ATL schools fight $18 million hit from new TAD bill
March 31, 2009 --

Atlanta Public Schools are fighting changes to a bill that would let Tax Allocation Districts spend school tax money. A state Senate committee last week amended the bill to say a school board that had already approved a TAD would not have to vote on it again. School board chair LaChandra Butler Burks (right) says […]