APS school board: Playing politics while the system reels from CRCT mess

As a new reporter fresh out of graduate school, I worked at a paper in northern New Jersey and covered every board, commission and traffic accident in several towns. I liked school board detail least.

The first reason was that I was 23, had no kids and couldn’t muster enthusiasm for the long debates over what color to paint the high school halls — one school board member was a “colorist” and had strong feelings about soothing tones — or whether there ought to be stop sign or traffic light two blocks from the school. But the school boards also had the most political drama, the most intrigue. Almost immediately upon taking over the beat I would get phone calls from school board members assailing a colleague’s motives or alleging conspiracies. I could not understand how adults could get so caught up in what seemed petty power grabs, at least to a young reporter.

Those memories came back to me Monday when the Atlanta Board of Education devoted an inordinate amount of time to whether it could legally change the number of members necessary to oust the chair — which seems to the goal. It is not clear whether the next step after replacing the chair would be to go after the superintendent or simply take control to have tighter rein on the system.

The board — which started its work session late — then disappeared into executive sessions for a matter that I am still not sure qualified under open records law since this was no pending litigation but a difference of opinion on what the charter allowed and whether the board was free to seek legal advice directly from someone else. One board member had obtained a letter from the General Assembly legislative counsel, which she and her crew argued ought to prevail.

(I have to point out that the Legislature’s legal counsel has overseen many laws that are later overturned in court, so I am not sure why it is considered definitive. You only have to look at our half-baked sex offender laws that never held up in court to wonder what kind of legal advice the Legislature is getting.  Of course, a big problem is that pandering lawmakers often ignore their legal counsel. That practice  would end tomorrow if we only held elected officials personally liable for lawsuits resulting from stupid laws that they passed over the objections of their own legal counsel,)

These school board antics kept an audience of at least 200 people twiddling their thumbs. (Some of us used the time to discuss which is the most functional school board in metro Atlanta. Gwinnett was the consensus.)

What happens to smart people when they get elected to a public office?

How could five members of the nine-member APS board think this power play was more important than taking a lead on this CRCT mess and restoring public confidence in a system that has been badly damaged by confirmation of widespread cheating at 12 of its schools and troubling incidences at many more?

I agree with all the speakers during the public portion of the APS meeting: Whatever this plotting is about, stop it and get down to the serious problems at hand.

When the board did turn to the CRCT issue, it listened politely to Dr. Hall as she outlined a thorough and detailed report on how APS was going to respond to the Blue Ribbon Panel’s recommendations on cleaning up testing and providing help to students whose scores were altered. And they asked good questions, including how much was all this going to cost and how many kids were affected. Neither of those questions were answered.

It was also clear that there was a lot of support for Dr. Hall in that room  among  the parents and community members on hand. And those parents offered a reason that many of Hall’s critics overlook: These folks who live in Altanta and whose children and grandchildren attended APS know what the system used to be like. And they think Hall has changed it for the better. I talked to a woman raising her three grandchildren, all of whom attend APS schools. She told me that the system is  “a world better from what it was when my own five children were there.”

Those at arm’s length who argue that Hall has to go aren’t talking to these parents and grandparents. Folks keep citing Clayton County and noting that I was a critic of that administration, but I went to a lot of parent meetings and school board meetings during the Clayton crisis. Those parents had a much differnet point of view; their system was not better. They were not happy with its direction. They organized against the board and the superintendent.

It is not just that Hall has the support of the chamber types; she has a lot of support from the real APS clients, the parents.

Should that matter?

As an editorial writer, I often had to ask myself why so many voters re-elected lawmakers who did nothing or did damage.  Part of it is that those lawmakers often reached out to voters and paid attention to the smaller issues, and that’s what voters valued. Did the lawmaker help get new band uniforms? Did she or he show up at the community picnic? Did he or she take a picture with their son’s soccer team? Did they listen to complaints about lines at the car tag office?

Those are all small acts, but they matter to people. Hall has apparently done a lot of stuff that matters to parents. And that may be enough to keep her in office until she steps down next year.

109 comments Add your comment

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
10:29 am

We trust you haven’t forgotten about the new and damaging information about the true meaning of NAEP as it relates to APS, information the AJC has conveniently scrubbed clean from the AJC website.

Have you received feedback from the AJC higher ups as to why the information was scrubbed from the website? Please don’t say because it was a “draft” because that is a “dodge”-no pun intended.

catlady

August 17th, 2010
10:33 am

Harken back to the blog topic about parents being pleased because they believe the PR that the system is putting out. (Yes, I am putting 2 ideas together to make that statement).

APS may BE better; the data suggests that it is not. I am betting if you talk to the parents of kids shuffled to the alternative academies right before testing or right before the headcount is taken, they might disagree based on first hand knowledge, not PR.

This is an abrasive, but I believe true statement: If Hall were a white man, she would have been fired months ago.

One lie–possibly a mistake. But lie upon lie–how many more?

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
10:37 am

Oh Maureen you didn’t.

“How could five members of the nine-member APS board think this power play was more important than taking a lead on this CRCT mess and restoring public confidence in a system that has been badly damaged by confirmation of widespread cheating at 12 of its schools and troubling incidences at many more?”

You keep forgetting your readers are not ignorant and uninformed Maureen. This isn’t Rodney Ho’s blog. Maybe Maureen, the Furious Five have finally had enough of the ethical lapses and they are in fact replacing the chair as a precursor to replacing Dr. Hall. Maybe the Furious Five have heard from their constituents and want to do the right thing for Atlanta.

If this is the case, what is better. Taking the parliamentary steps needed to accomplish this, or go on a public dog and pony show for the public? The public has had that for well over a year now. Sounds to me like the Furious Five very well may be doing the right thing.

[...] APS school board: Playing politics while the system reels from CRCT messAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Did he or she take a picture with their son's soccer team? Did they listen to complaints about lines at the car tag office? Those are all small acts, …and more » [...]

cityzen

August 17th, 2010
10:43 am

Maureen, You appear to assume that the 5 dissident board members are not motivated by a desire to clean up the APS mess that the AJC’s persistent investigations have revealed.
It’s quite possible that this is merely petty feuding, but do you have evidence for that? Were any of the 5 Edupac (i.e., business) picks and were all of the 4 Edupac folks?
The rest of us, outsiders who only pay for the system, would be interested in hearing the positions that the respective school board factions / members take on Hall’s fitness to continue leading and on the right way forward. Are any reporters planning to ask them?

ThrowTheBumsOut

August 17th, 2010
10:43 am

I’ve been watching this drama unfold, and maybe there has been some good in the Hall administration, but the time has come for change. When endemic greed takes control, and our children are pushed to the bottom of the priority list, house cleaning is necessary.
Let’s privatize the APS. Let Beverly and the current ‘leadership’ bid on it too. We’re not getting our money’s worth, and the children are the ones being harmed. The children are graduating with hardly a middle school capability.

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
10:44 am

“Those at arm’s length who argue that Hall has to go aren’t talking to these parents and grandparents.”

Maureen, Maureen, surely you are not implying that the only critics of Dr. Hall are people who are at “arm’s length”?

And while we are at it:

“These folks who live in Altanta and whose children and grandchildren attended APS know what the system used to be like. And they think Hall has changed it for the better.”

Maureen, is it not also true a lot of people thought Jim Jones changed their lives for the better; right up to the very moment they drank the Kool-Aid?

An advocate for public education change & choice

August 17th, 2010
10:45 am

@Maureen – This blog puts IMHO, an intresting spin on yesterdays APS BOE meeting. From my observation of the community comment section of the meeting, I didn’t leave with the impression that the majority of the crowd were strong supporters of Dr. Hall and her staff. Instead, what I saw was a concerned group of like minded community members who banded together to form an effective advocacy on behalf of SCHOOL PRINCIPALS who they felt were unfairly displaced. There is a big distinction between those two points.

I agree the meeting overall made for some interesting poltical theatre. I was struck by how many of the supporters (who seemed to represent F.L. Stanton, judging from the t-shirts worn) appeared inclinded to accept they were the victims of racial discrimination. In so doing, I believe the finer points of the concern escape them. Nevertheless, to see a group of concerned parents demanding some accountability from both the APS BOE and Dr. Hall et al was refreshing.

Lastly, I’ll say that while I think Mayor Reed’s attempt to interject himself into the fray was quite interesting. This is one battle that it would seem he would want to stray away from rather than thrust himself into. Unless City Hall has plans to take over adminstration of the district best he stay on the sidelines for this fight unless otherwise compelled to take a stand. Yesterday, was not that moment. All I can say is alot of political grandstanding took place yesterday.

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
10:49 am

@cityzen, I think Maureen has an excellent idea of what the Furious Five may be doing. What they may be doing is actually trying to restore confidence in APS by calling for Hall’s ouster, which would do a lot more to ever restore confidence that Maureen’s solution of a dog and pony show board meeting.

I strongly suspect that’s why Maureen is so critical of them. It look’s like she’s trying to discredit them in order to shill for Dr. Hall.

Maureen?

Dr NO

August 17th, 2010
10:51 am

APS, Clayton and Dekalb boards are chock full of useless AssClowns with very low, if any, moral character and are a reflection of the persons who elected them.

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
10:55 am

@An advocate, that is an excellent point. There’s a clear and distinct difference between parents supporting the local school personnel and parents supporting Dr. Hall.

Maureen seems to be hell bent (heck bent?) on defending Hall at this point. Remember all the promises she made to Attentive Parent to address the serious concerns that many have about the true meaning of NAEP scores as it relates to APS?

Well when none other than the AJC itself, on the front page of the Sunday paper, more than validates Attentive Parent’s concerns about NAEP scores, and then Maureen goes back on her word that she will address this, it looks like Maureen may have some explaining to do as far as her own accountability.

Uncle D

August 17th, 2010
11:00 am

@ Dr. NO This type of behavior takes place in school board meetings all around the State, but outside the glare (for the most part) of the AJC and other Atlanta media.

Springdale Park Elementary Parent

August 17th, 2010
11:01 am

Mayor Reed wants to lure more businesses to Atlanta but knows it’s a hard sell to ask families to relocate into a scandal-plagued school system that manipulates data (and forcibly transfers slow-learning children to truly awful schools) to suit its narrative.

Is Bev better than what we used to have? That’s not the relevant question anymore. Is Bev really the best we can do, and can anyone have confidence in APS under her leadership going forward? That’s the question now.

EnoughAlready

August 17th, 2010
11:04 am

Reed stepping into the fray was absolutely the right thing for him to do. The quality of education in the city of Atlanta will be its down fall and the mayor should have a say. They need real leadership and I believe he has proven himself over the course of the last few months to be a leader.

I’m also happy to see many parents and grandparents with students in the APS attending the meeting and letting their voices be heard. If they don’t stand up for themselves, the decisions about their kid’s education will continue to become a media circus. I don’t believe that parents are happy about the allegations of cheating, but want to keep a since of normalcy for the APS students. The children are the ones being hurt by cheating and allegations of cheating by their administration. They are the ones who will have to prove to the world that they are being educated by the APS.

Last, I don’t believe that firing Hall or any of the administrators will improve the APS. I would put them all on tighter strings, with a clear warning of what would happen should anything like that happen in the future. All the students affected by the cheating scandal should be given tutoring (before and after school) at those locations and retested. To eliminate cheating in the future a new testing monitoring policy should be implemented.

Maureen Downey

August 17th, 2010
11:07 am

@Maureen, Then let the Furious Five make their stand and make their case. The fact that everyone on this blog is guessing what their motives are is the first problem. This is not a private body; these folks are elected. They ought to explain to voters what they are doing and why.
From years of covering ag boards to zoning boards, I have found that those who spend a lot of time maneuvering and who keep voters guessing seldom have the good of the community foremost. If these five think Hall should go, what are they waiting for to make a public stand?

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
11:08 am

“Last, I don’t believe that firing Hall or any of the administrators will improve the APS. I would put them all on tighter strings, with a clear warning of what would happen should anything like that happen in the future.”

How many times does it need to happen Enough? It already happened once several years ago, Jim Donsky did a great report about suspicious gains, which word was, made the higher ups at the AJC none too happy. How many incidents of falsified data and cheating, and violations of the law-what happened to the E-Rate story AJC?-before we really say Enough already

“All the students affected by the cheating scandal should be given tutoring (before and after school) at those locations and retested.”

APS is giving tutor at 58 schools caught up in the scandal. Why 58 if only 12 cheated?

Maureen Downey

August 17th, 2010
11:09 am

@Maureen, Again, you and I can’t stop the people who want to drink the Kool-Aid, swim in it or use it as a mixer. My point is that you can’t discuss Dr. Hall’s future without acknowledging her community support. This is not an attempt to cover up the problems, but to state the whole picture.

Maureen Downey

August 17th, 2010
11:12 am

@An Advocate, I am not sure why Reed has chosen this moment. Nor do I know if he can do any more than speak as a concerned citizen unless he would stage a takeover bid and I would think that the city’s problems are enough for him right now.
I also understand that Shirley Franklin may be approaching Arne Duncan to get involved.

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
11:13 am

@Maureen, Then let the Furious Five make their stand and make their case. The fact that everyone on this blog is guessing what their motives are is the first problem.

On this point, I don’t disagree with you. Not sure why you have to have the cloak and daggers behavior. Why not make a motion, second it, vote on it and be done with it? Could it be that they are trying to get every duck in a row, so that they don’t get derailed by a political power play?

And what happened to the NAEP concerns that you promised to address? Will you give us a definite time frame as to when you will address them. “Check back shortly” isn’t going to cut it LOL. We see you completely dropped the E-Rate story after saying that whopper!

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
11:14 am

What business does Arne Duncan have in the decisions of a local school board? Wouldn’t the answer to that be “zero”?

Maureen Downey

August 17th, 2010
11:14 am

@Maureen, I have a call into NAEP to see about getting a piece on Atlanta and on the issue of whether white students were overrepresented on the recent administration of the test. Will post when I get something.

Maureen Downey

August 17th, 2010
11:20 am

@Maureen. Zero is about right. But I find these political skirmishes are like traffic accidents on the interstate. Everyone wants to slow down and get a close look at the mayhem.

Raquel Morris

August 17th, 2010
11:40 am

Maureen, I agree that the ABE is a big ol mess. But, its members were duly elected by the voters they represent. They at least deserve the same benefit of the doubt you’ve given to the appointed and unaccountable School Superintendent.

I agree with you, however, that members of the Board of Education should make their intentions known regarding Dr. Hall’s future, the cheating/grad rate/NAEP fraud issues, and everything else. Since you’re a member of the press, why not ask them what their intentions are?

An advocate for public education change & choice

August 17th, 2010
11:49 am

@Enough Already – While you make valid points about how public education could/should be a draw to bring more business to the Atlanta, Mayor Reed stepping in the middle of the APS BOE debates over its governance is like a APS BOE member or Dr. Hall trying to sway influence over City Council governance. My point is there is a time and place for a disply of leadership by the Mayor and I personally don’t think last nite was it. It came off to me as more political grandstanding. Where has his voice been before this stage providing guidence and leadership to steer things in a progressive direction? I’m with Maureen on this one, he has much bigger fish to fry at this point in his own shop.

@Maureen – Newsflash, dragging Arne Duncan into the mix will amount to little. Sec Duncan and Dr. Hall are old buddies on the circuit by virture of Duncan’s days running the Chicago school district. Sec Duncan has been influencial in positioning Dr. Hall on the national stage and has a vested interest seeing this matter go away quietly for Dr. Hall. Sadly this battle is best fought on a local front with the constituants of APS staging a united front demanding progressive change to a adminstrative culture whose chickens have now come home to roost.

Also, after reading the original “..In Dr Hall’s own words” article (aka The Working Draft) vs the revised draft published as “Atlanta Grad Rate Doesn’t Add Up”, the AJC editorial staff should be ashamed of themselves for trying to bury the facts of this situation. The revised completely strips the original “working draft” of its most damning evidence. They have done an extreme disservice to the community for having done so! And you can quote me !!!

Aiken Faque

August 17th, 2010
11:52 am

One of the things that I am glad about in respect to this Blog, is that Henry County schools are not considered part of Metro Atlanta.

Maureen Downey

August 17th, 2010
11:54 am

@An Advocate, I understand that Duncan and Hall are pals. I think that is why he is here so often visiting APS schools and attending Atlanta events. I don’t think he can add much to the CRCT discussion, except to bring some national attention.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

August 17th, 2010
12:01 pm

Maureen: can you institute an age limit for posters so the 5 yr. old can be banned?

HHW

August 17th, 2010
12:11 pm

Funny how Clayton County was stripped of their Accreditation (now on Probation) for having elected stupid board members, who could not agree. APS got bigger problems CHEATERS!!!!!! and you reassigned them to other schools to do what CHEAT??? Where is SACS on this issue?????? oh it is only 13 schools. That is 13 schools too many…….. and the beat goes on… Beverly I think you need to step down, and do it now!!!

Dr NO

August 17th, 2010
12:17 pm

Uncle D

August 17th, 2010
11:00 am

Uh NO…not quite.

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
12:23 pm

@Maureen, I have a call into NAEP to see about getting a piece on Atlanta and on the issue of whether white students were overrepresented on the recent administration of the test. Will post when I get something.

I hope when you post, you will also reference the excellent work that your reporters did that was subsequently scrubbed from the website. I know you did your part and passed these concerns along up the pay grade, but I take it we shouldn’t hold our breath as far as them responding to their customer base via the blog?

@Advocate. No doubt about the Hall/Duncan connection; that is why, as Maureen put it, everybody was “exceedingly polite” when Duncan came down here for his recent photo op.

Polite but truthful doesn’t seem to be a valid concept to Duncan when it comes to APS and forget being “exceedingly truthful.”

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
12:26 pm

As far as the Furious Five. What if they are really trying to do the right thing; restore some much needed credibility and accountability, first by removing the chair after her delusional statements that it was “impossible” for Dr. Hall to have known about any cheating, and then holding Hall herself accountable.

Even if they are doing the right thing, is there any reason they couldn’t have just made a motion, seconded the motion, and voted right there on the spot instead of retreating and having people “twiddle their thumbs” as Maureen put it, wondering what the heck was going on?

Is there a legitimate reason for the cloak and dagger show?

Attentive Parent

August 17th, 2010
12:28 pm

Maureen-

Please don’t forget that the 2009 NAEP Urban report says that Hispanics and ELL students were not tested sufficiently to make them a reportable group.

In 4th grade reading report says Hispanics were less than 1%.

That’s not reflective of the demographics of APS.

EnoughAlready

August 17th, 2010
12:30 pm

Aiken Faque

August 17th, 2010
11:52 am

Keep wishing!!! They might not be officially, but when most think of Metro Atlanta; we include Henry and Fayette. And the reason is due to the number of parents who commute to Atlanta to work everyday.

a [parent

August 17th, 2010
12:39 pm

I think Dr. Hall has accept responbility for the cheating scandal at APS. I would hope and pray that the 12 principal would not return to their former jobs. Enough! is enough time to move on, our students need to focus on his or her education.

Glad I could afford to send my children to Pvt. School

August 17th, 2010
12:40 pm

Like most things in Atlanta this is a case of the Political machine stealing from poor blacks. Too bad that’s the way the system works.

catlady

August 17th, 2010
12:47 pm

One thing that I am heartened to see is that it appears more people (other than the 2 or 3 who’ve been on it all along) are more willing to call assertations into questions. In the past, if someone raised questions, they were called “racist” or “uninformed” or just ignored. NOW maybe more of these miraculous happenings will be exposed for what they really are: Lies.

I believe Hall should be fired, and her pay taken to repay the money she got through fraud. Perhaps some fraud charges should be made, as well.

Educators have a hard enough time without (stuff) like this.

Raquel Morris

August 17th, 2010
12:51 pm

Maureen, your competition is outshining you. Creative Loafing offered a far more balanced look at the attempt to replace the ABE Chair. Get this, Scott Henry didn’t assume that five duly elected officials intended to break the law.

http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2010/08/16/atlanta-school-board-meeting-is-scene-of-failed-coup

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
1:00 pm

As far as Creative Loafing goes, where the heck have they been the last year and a half? You could always count on Creative Loafing to provide a much needed check and balance to the AJC’s “Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce-centric” agenda.

In this case though, Creative Loafing dropped the ball. Hopefully this is an indication they are ready to get into the game, and give us some answers as to what motivates LaChandra Butler Burks to make delusional statements such as it was “impossible” for Dr. Hall to have known about CRCT cheating.

Don’t know the why Butler-Burks would sacrifice her credibility for making statements like that, but if it costs her politically, it will be a just dessert.

Honesty

August 17th, 2010
1:02 pm

Ahhhhhh…..the wonderful world of teachers’ unions and Government schools.

Attentive Parent

August 17th, 2010
1:04 pm

Whitney Tilson refers to the now scrubbed AJC story as a “bomb of an article which raises many troubling questions”.

He also pointed out that when he had praised Hall before the story he had gotten “pushback from friends in Atlanta” saying she was no friend of charters and not much of an ed reformer.

When one of the founders of Democrats for Ed Reform who is pictured with Bill Gates at an ed conference on charters starts to question his previous praise, the national support is indeed beginning to wane.

Imagine if he had read an article that more accurately described the extent of the messing with NAEP.

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
1:08 pm

Attentive Parent, do you find it troubling that the AJC hierarchy won’t respond to the concerns Maureen passed along about why the story was scrubbed from the website?

Dr NO

August 17th, 2010
1:10 pm

I would love to see Beverly Hall behind bars…

@honesty

August 17th, 2010
1:12 pm

Honesty you can sure lay this at the foot of government schools, as even Arne Duncan is willing to protect Hall, but honestly, “the unions” have little or nothing to do with this one.

In fact one of the teacher organizations, MACE has been at the forefront of calling for a full investigation into the cheating into APS. Now it is true the organizations that represent administrators, PAGE and GAE did not second that call. Wonder why?

Maureen Downey

August 17th, 2010
1:12 pm

@Raquel, Couple quick responses. First, it is no secret five APS board members want to oust their chair. They made that clear the last meeting and it is why the chair was so well prepared to argue against them with her citations of law. I think everyone knows that part.
The part that is murky is why. They have a five to four majority as it stands right now. If they get rid of the chair, how does that better position them to fire Hall? Why can’t they move now on that, if it is their goal?
My issue with breaking the law is the going into executive session. Scott didn’t get into whether their decision to discuss their charter in secret met with the letter of the open meetings law; I would argue it definitely didn’t meet with the spirit. I have real problems with shutting out the public and have made the point many times that elected boards should limit their closed door sessions and always err on the side of sunshine.
Maureen

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
1:15 pm

“The part that is murky is why. They have a five to four majority as it stands right now. If they get rid of the chair, how does that better position them to fire Hall? Why can’t they move now on that, if it is their goal. I don’t understand why they can’t press their points now?”

I was hoping you’d have an answer for that Maureen! LOL. Why can’t one of them make a motion, second the motion, then call a vote on it?

It would be a shame if the Furious Five, if they truly are willing to do what’s best as far as holding Hall accountable, mucks it up with cloak and dagger stuff.

Raquel Morris

August 17th, 2010
1:16 pm

Maureen, thanks for the response, but I was also saying that the five board members should make clear their intentions regarding Dr. Hall’s future. That’s the question of the day for me, not what happens to their Board Chair.

By the way, there is talk that there was a secret meeting of a group of Board members over the weekend. Have you asked around about that?

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
1:17 pm

Maureen, safe to assume your higher ups are in “closed door executive session” to discuss how best to respond to the readers’ concerns passed along yesterday about why the NAEP/APS story was scrubbed? :)

chillywilly

August 17th, 2010
1:22 pm

Having worked for APS for close to 30 years, I strongly disagree that the school system is “a world better than it use to be”. Let me give you a perspective from an APS employee who has seen the good, the bad, & the ugly (Dr. Hall’s tenure). Prior to Beverly Hall’s arrival, there was more parental participation, more student discipline, everybody worked extremely hard and earned it the honest way. After Beverly Hall arrived, you immediately saw an increase in employees from “The North”. It didn’t matter whether they were qualified or not, as long as they were northerners, they were okay in her mind. She hired some of her former students from New York as APS Principals. As a matter of fact, she hired one woman from New York as Principal & her fiance as a Paraprofessional. This same Principal was run off by the teachers & parents and is still employed by APS. The current CFO was terminated and Beverly Hall hired a CFO from New Jersey to replace her. He lasted about 6 months and was terminated. In the meantime, two retired former school executives were placed at APS on a contract basis to “clean up APS finances”. According to the State Auditor at the time, Nader Sohrab, APS finances were in bad shape. APS Finance Management Team strongly disagreed with Sohrab, but he stood firm in his decision to write APS up for numerous audit findings. Please keep in mind that one of the retired finance contractors was the father of a leading Geogia Legislator. I understand that the Legislator was (is) a golfing buddy of Russell Hinton, Georgia State Auditor (and Sohrab’s boss). For some reason, Dr. Hall hired Chuck Burbridge as the new CFO. People at APS are still wondering what she was smoking when she hired Burbridge. Shortly after Burbridge arrival, he & Dr. Hall decided to offer State Auditor, Nader Sohrab a job as Executive Director of Finance Technology Comptroller. According to Burbridge, Sohrab was APS enemy and he wanted to hire him at APS so that they could watch him. Needless to say, Sohrab jumped at the opportunity to work for APS, especially since it came with a huge pay increase over his state job. Not long after Sohrab arrived, APS Finances were in great shape all of a sudden. Oh really?? Were the finances as bad as Sohrab said they were when he audited APS as a State Auditor? And now, he rides in and saves the day? Yeah right. To sum this all up (I could actually write a book), Dr. Hall said that if one person cheats, that is one too many. Well if that is the case, why hasn’t she done anything about the latest Erate issue or the employees who cheated on their time and attendance? Or investigated the numerous complaints of abuse that was filed against Sohrab by female employees.

Dr. Hall, resigning is not running away from the problem. Instead, it is the first step in cleaning up the extreme culture of corruption at APS. I think many people agree with me, including at least 5 of your Board Members.

Dr. Hall, please take that first step now.

Maureen, I suggest you organize a town hall meeting or round table discussion of current & former APS employees, students, and parents. You can include business people to so that they can tell us how APS provided them with that profit margin.

I’m interested. Let me know.

Maureen? Maureen?

August 17th, 2010
1:29 pm

Maureen would you deny that there is indeed a culture of corporate corruption at APS?

Maureen Downey

August 17th, 2010
1:30 pm

@Raquel, I have just sent e-mails to all five of those board members asking if we can just hear from them as to why they are pursuing this issue now. I will let you know if I get any responses and post.
I have not heard that there was a quorum of members that met this weekend. If you have any info, please send to either me or Kristina Torres at ktorres@ajc.com
Maureen