Should governor fire the entire APS school board and start fresh? AJC wants to know.

AJC Staff writer Nancy Badertscher is interested in talking to parents in the Atlanta Public Schools system who have an opinion on whether the governor should remove en masse the school board. Please contact her ASAP at nbadertscher@ajc.com.

(As we discussed here, one board member has resigned to take a job in New Jersey.)

I have been giving the blog a break on APS news, but there have been a few developments:

♦ In a letter that began arriving in mailboxes Friday, APS school chief Erroll Davis told the 178 employees implicated in the CRCT cheating probe that he will accept their resignations through Wednesday. Otherwise, they will be fired. Only two employees stepped down Monday.

♦The district is still paying more than $550,000 in combined annual salaries for four area superintendents relieved of their duties because of the scandal. Contracts for the four went into effect July 1 — four days before the state released its report detailing widespread cheating and systemic cover-ups. They are on administrative leave with no reduction in compensation.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

176 comments Add your comment

Terminator

July 19th, 2011
5:00 pm

Sounds like a good idea—the entire APS culture is corrupt to the core. They need to clean house with a total new board and staff.

Doug Beever

July 19th, 2011
5:07 pm

You bet your sweet bibby they should be canned! What does this school board teach our kids? Lying, cheating is the fast track to success? Give me a break! This school board is a disgrace, makes a mockery of the system. And one wonders why people go without; eat BB&Js, Spam, whatever, if it means affording to put their kid into private schools.

Struggling Teacher

July 19th, 2011
5:11 pm

I’m sure Governor Deal will rule the APS in his favor.

Really amazed

July 19th, 2011
5:11 pm

Why do people truly think this only happenend at APS? Only ones caught!!!

Cobb Teacher

July 19th, 2011
5:15 pm

Great…Deal fires all of APS board and then appoints the rest of his relatives or friends of friends…no thanks!

atlmom1

July 19th, 2011
5:18 pm

Who’s to say that any 9 other people would do better?
The problem is the SYSTEM, not who is on the board.
In what city is this all working? That I would like to know.

SmyrnaMan

July 19th, 2011
5:19 pm

Yes they should absolutely Fire everyone involved. If they dont, the Gov will look weak and nobody will ever care about APS again.

Shaniqua

July 19th, 2011
5:20 pm

Yes anyone who was on the board during Beverly Hall’s tenure should be sent packing. The only way to fix APS is to clean house from top to bottom.

Joe

July 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

The signing of the new contracts just 4 days before the release of the Govs report is the final straw. At a minimum, the board should have held those contracts until the report was released. This action would have harmed no student. As it stands now, Atlantans should expect a lengthy review if not a legal battle to remove these ‘officers.’

In the meantime, more fiscal resources will waste.

If you don’t feel sorry for the kids of APS, you have no heart.

Susan

July 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

lulu

July 19th, 2011
5:21 pm

Absolutely, fire them all – if not for the cheating, then for getting the school system placed on probation with SACS.

@Really amazed – I thought they were looking into other school districts as well. I could have misunderstood, though.

@Cobb Teacher – I can imagine that would be the likely scenario were they all to get fired, and it’s definitely not ideal, but could it possibly be worse?

Just My Two Cents

July 19th, 2011
5:31 pm

Well, let me first apologize for my comment being off topic for this particular blog. My comment is regarding the upcoming supplemental tutoring services for those students affected by the cheating scandal. Let’s not forget ,there is an enormous amount of SES (Supplemental Education Services) federal grant monies for tutoring providers in the name of “free tutoring” for the already desinfranchised children in APS. It has been my experience that some of these folks/tutoring providers are just as greedy, unorganized, unaccountable,and hire and sub-contract teachers who have no idea how to remediate students. Show me the money! They could care less about the children’s welfare or academic well-being. So, it is my hope that the new decision-makers in key positions will carefully screen those organizations leaping to help with supplemental educational services for the affected children in APS. Please have something rigorous in place to hold these supplemental service providers accountable or these children will “raped” of an adequate education yet again by the hands of adults looking out for themselves..

Write Your Board Members

July 19th, 2011
5:34 pm

Can he take DeKalb as well?

another comment

July 19th, 2011
5:38 pm

Didn’t this Board just approve a personel report that included giving new contracts to Bev Hall’s top 4 assitants. Including Ms. Cottman who had already been removed from her position prior to the May, date that Bev. extended them.

My understanding is that the School board has to approve the personal reports, that lists the contract extentsions. They were told by the people investigation that any extension of these 4 in particular needed a clause to escape related to cheating, it is missing. Also, why would any board renew the “GO TO HELL” memo author’s contract another year. Anyone who voted for the personal report should be fired.

APS lawyer

July 19th, 2011
6:13 pm

The Governor does not have the constitutional authority to fire the Board of Education. If he tried, there would be a lawsuit filed the next day. Plus, why would you want Deal’s political hacks that have no accountability to the parents.

Another Voice

July 19th, 2011
6:20 pm

Incredible gall to sign the contracts without a clause that dealt with this cheating mess.

APS Teacher

July 19th, 2011
6:22 pm

I have to question the intelligence of a school board if they approved the contract of the four executive directors, especially that of Cotman who was removed prior to the end of school year. Additionally, I just watched the news and the four of them are not articulate enough to hold such a high ranking position. I could not understand a word Mr. Pitts was saying, Ms. Cotman knows good and well that she doesn’t give a hoot about children with her mean and nasty self, Ms. Davis acts as if someone owes her something with her want unapproachable,rude & nasty self and Robin Hall is always at a lost for words. Atlanta is a diverse city and we need diversity! Stop hiring friends and family members!

Just prosecute

July 19th, 2011
6:30 pm

Firing the Board just seems like a “knee-jerk reaction” – emotionally satisfying, but not a real solution.
Far better to focus on vigorous prosecution of those involved in an effort to make a real change. This is a serious opportunity to purge APS of much of the institutionalized wrong thinking that infects that organization, and it may be the most efficient strategy to do so because the teacher’s unions cannot stop the enforcement of the law.

catlady

July 19th, 2011
6:54 pm

The board is culpable for the length of time it has allowed the farce to go on. They participated in the coverup, if in no way more than not requiring the truth. I think they should be removed by the voters, and some of them should be prosecuted. Even more, however, the CO mid and upper level staff should be dismissed and prosecuted, as well as their money attached for any extra money they received, and they should be put in jail if found guilty of any part of the scheme or coverup. The governor should use the power of his position to speed up the process. It has dragged on for almost a decade, for goodness sake!

catlady

July 19th, 2011
6:56 pm

I also believe members of the C of C are culpable and should also be prosecuted in the coverup.

Angry Parent

July 19th, 2011
6:57 pm

Yes, especially LaChandra Butler Burks. She was in it with Dr Hall and the Atlanta Chamber. Emmett Johnson is all about self and Brenda Muhammad does no have a clue. The culturs has to change because some of the board members are very corrupt…mainly Burks, Johnson and Harsh-K.

Cobb Mom of 4

July 19th, 2011
6:58 pm

Fire them if he can, but make sure that his appointees are very temporary…90 days or less until an emergency election can be scheduled.

Doris M

July 19th, 2011
7:02 pm

The board was elected by members of the Atlanta community. If there is no criminal activity or ethics violations, why should Gov. Deal replace the entire board? As far as boards go, none of them really know what is going on. They usually rubber stamp everything. At one time, the Atlanta Board has some really hard nosed members and it was great television to watch the Board meetings. They questioned everything. Now the Board is swinging the other way. But most deals are done in the dark (executive session) but eventually come into the light.

@Maureen

July 19th, 2011
7:18 pm

“Didn’t this Board just approve a personel report that included giving new contracts to Bev Hall’s top 4 assitants. Including Ms. Cottman who had already been removed from her position prior to the May, date that Bev. extended them.”

Can you please clarify the facts related to these claims (or link to the AJC article)? I must have missed this while on vacation. I knew that the BOE approved hiring (or rehiring) some principals just before BH stepped down, but I didn’t realize it was Cotman et al too?!

Kah

July 19th, 2011
7:20 pm

Amen to the comments posted by “Really amazed” and “My two cents”.

Ros Dalton

July 19th, 2011
7:22 pm

Short answer: Yes.

Paddy O

July 19th, 2011
7:24 pm

I’d be relatively uncomfortable with that action. However, if they don’t terminate all teachers who admitted cheating, and especially the admin leftovers from the skunk Hall, then I might be more of an advocate for that action. We shall see.

Paddy O

July 19th, 2011
7:25 pm

However, I do see the catlady’s point, and they are culpable of gross malfeasance for not having some constructive criticism of the amazing gains.

Kah

July 19th, 2011
7:34 pm

I think it would be a great idea to replace the board with some parents representing preschool, elementary, high school and special education.

Kah

July 19th, 2011
7:37 pm

so sorry, left out middle school in my last comments…

Maureen Downey

July 19th, 2011
7:39 pm

tim

July 19th, 2011
7:40 pm

Do it the old fashion way….OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

tim

July 19th, 2011
7:43 pm

Deal needs to clean house and hire experienced white people.

sallyd

July 19th, 2011
7:45 pm

I agree with you APS teacher

sallyd

July 19th, 2011
7:46 pm

Enter your comments here

Dr. John Trotter

July 19th, 2011
7:47 pm

Should the Governor do away with democracy? No, I don’t think so.

Jerry Eads

July 19th, 2011
7:52 pm

This, I fear, will be a long road. The guilty will fight simply because they will keep getting their salaries as long as their credentials are intact. In the meantime, although Hall’s administration appears to have been insanely bloated, there still MUST be teachers for all those kids, AND the ones relieved of their duties must still continue to be paid. Not pretty. I hope that the state will be willing to help with the necessary additional funding.

ANGELA

July 19th, 2011
7:53 pm

@Just My Two Cents,

Well, stated. I hear everyone saying yes, that these board members should be fired. I also, agree with Cobb Teacher. Deal is just as Shaddy if not more so.

The only thing that really hurts at this point (this statement will be the race card) is that my people did what they did to their own future consumers. Yet, we spend all of our time blamming others for our wrong doings. Stop hurting each other and spend more time plotting to help others and please start with your own people.

Go Panthers!

July 19th, 2011
7:58 pm

ABSOLUTELY!!! However, Mayor Reed and only Mayor Reed and his reps should pick their replacements. Deal is NOT to be trusted on the resolution of this issue. He should only support and empower local leaders to make right what went wrong on their predecesors’ watch.

In signing the recent Board recall legislation, Deal gave me encouragement that this was his intention. I really hope he doesn’t try to grandstand by appointing his own minnions, stooges and lame ducks and end up letting APS students and parents down, too.

marymac

July 19th, 2011
8:00 pm

Cotman needs to go to jail and pray continuously for ten(10) years.She needs no hearing…………………she is as low down as they come…….has no concern for students, only HERSELF……I hope they get her,but good

ANGELA

July 19th, 2011
8:10 pm

@Go Panthers!

Do you really feel that Reed can be trusted any more than the rest. I am sure that he will place his own people in there and in some way do wrong as well. The board should be voted in. It may not stop wrong doing however, that way the voters can blame themselves and the board members can be put out off of the board without all of the perks.

John Adams

July 19th, 2011
8:19 pm

Let’s all just take a collective deep breath, lower our blood pressures just a bit, and let due process take its course in each case. Each individual teacher (at least, the ones who refuse to resign in lieu) gets her own Fair Dismissal hearing based on her specific fact situation. Likewise, each Board member will be judged by voters at the ballot box, or perhaps sooner if they are indicted and then recalled or removed. Speaking as both a former law enforcement officer (7 years) and a former school system HR director (8 years), not everyone who is merely “implicated” in a report is guilty of wrongdoing, and not everyone who is guilty of wrongdoing deserves to be terminated. The devil is in the details of each case, and that is why we have juries and tribunals. Most importantly, let’s remember that the vast majority of the teachers and local school administrators in APS are good, honest, hard working professional educators.

ANGELA

July 19th, 2011
8:25 pm

I think that it should be a federal and state requirement/law that all supers and board members be voted into office and it should be made up of an even number of a diverse group. Georgia is a very diverse state and diversity should be a requirement in all political offices.

Will this stop corruption maybe not but it will sure be a start in a more positive direction. It will also, encourage people of other races to get more involved in the political aspects of this country. There is still far too much rascism in the country for it to be as diverse as it is. (Yes, Fred a preposition)!!!!!!!!!!!!! and loving it.

Atlanta mom

July 19th, 2011
8:25 pm

Did the board approve the extensions of the 4 area superviors?
If so, what was the vote? Which board members voted to approve the contracts?

Sam in GA

July 19th, 2011
8:50 pm

If the Governor fires this school board; then he should fire all school boards in the state and start anew. Problems exist all over the State with education. The State of Georgia is always near the bottom in the nation with standardize testing. Let’s get real and education our children and not focus so much time on a small number of cheaters.

Go Panthers!

July 19th, 2011
8:53 pm

Ideally and in the interest of maintaining democratic rule, a special election should be held to replace the members. Practically? We need new blood on Trinity street ASAP. So, yes, I do think Reed needs to seat replacements. Yesterday. Here’s why.

If Reed chooses people who prove to be as negligent as the current Board, then his opponent in the next election should have no problem taking his job. But, I voted for him because I believe he’s a good and genuinely interested administrator who is too smart to go down those kinds of roads. I refuse to believe these Board members were complicit in this mess, only that they were rubber stampers, Kool Aid drinkers, indians instead of the chiefs we all expected them to be when elected and “hob-nobbing” aspiring politicos. But, ignorance does not grant absolution. And Reed, as Mayor, shouldn’t be absolved from the job of firing them for their oversights and trying to right their wrongs.

He is the Mayor, he (unfairly) inherited this crap and that hard stuff kinda comes with the job. Believe me, this will not be easy for him and putting in friends and cronies will probably be the last thought on his mind. I’m pretty sure he understands that the success or failure of his replacements hold his entire political legacy in their hands. He doesn’t want to be George Wallace’d with a big bullhorn picture on the school steps in history books as the Mayor on duty during the biggest testing scandal in American public school history AND the Mayor who seated a corrupt Board of homies to try and fix it. Also, if I am correct, there is at least one Board member that he has known since childhood. Could you publicly fire someone you’ve known nearly all your life and who you might have to run into with their family at the Publix after Sunday service?

This will not be a cakewalk for him and it has a few built in controls. Plus, he’s already run to Deal like Big Brother Bad to even get this ball rolling. Did you see all of that fussing he was doing on the news about the Board when the SACS stuff first went down? For these reasons (and many more that I will not go into), he is THE best person to pick replacements because, other than the students, he has the most to lose if they fail.

Former Stressed Educator

July 19th, 2011
9:01 pm

@APS Teacher and marymac…..You are so right!! I watched the newscast and was shaking my head the whole time Cotman lied to Mark Winne. Satan has a condo waiting down below with her name on the door! She terrorized staff and threatened them in front of students. I hope her due process hearing is public because all of her nasty, unprofessional and degrading tactics used against teachers needs to be exposed. Dr. John Trotter knows all about her threats and had her shaking like a leaf on a tree when he arrived at her SRT-4 building to fight for me.

Angus

July 19th, 2011
9:02 pm

Emphatically no. (that applies to Kasim as well)

oh well

July 19th, 2011
9:06 pm

FUBU
For Us (blacks) By Us (blacks)

fire it up

July 19th, 2011
9:13 pm

if you fire too many people in aps, sharpton / jackson will be down quick with the race card, wanting big money in “damages.”