Building a foundation to prosecute Beverly Hall for APS cheating

Lots of movement this week on the Atlanta cheating scandal, including news that the district has been billed $127,386 by former Superintendent Beverly Hall for legal fees associated with the state 2009 testing investigation.

The AJC is also reporting that a foundation is being built for criminal prosecution of the former school chief:

A sweeping subpoena shows a criminal investigation has begun in earnest involving test tampering at Atlanta’s public schools and that former Superintendent Beverly Hall could be a target, lawyers said Tuesday.

The subpoena, issued by a Fulton County grand jury, seeks comprehensive information dating back to 1999 regarding teacher transfers and demotions, bonuses paid to employees for improved test scores and copies of complaints from parents, teachers or students of possible improprieties related to Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. The subpoena also seeks signed copies of “any and all oaths of office” taken by Hall when she was superintendent.

“It’s the first shot across the bow, ” criminal defense attorney Jack Martin said. “This is a clear indication they are looking at criminal charges and that prosecutors are using the grand jury to get the records that could provide circumstantial evidence to support the investigation.”

The Fulton probe follows an investigation by special investigators appointed a year ago by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue into test cheating. Their report found that 178 educators were linked to cheating on standardized tests. The investigators also accused top school officials of destroying or altering complaints about misconduct, trying to hinder the investigation and lying to investigators when asked about their involvement. The governor’s investigators gave copies of their files to Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard, who must now decide whether criminal charges are warranted. On Tuesday, through a spokeswoman, Howard declined requests for an interview.

APS educators and administrators face potential charges of giving false statements to investigators or altering public documents, both of which are felonies with punishment of up to 10 years in prison. School officials who submitted test scores that they knew were false also could face potential felony charges with penalties of up to five years in prison.

The governor’s investigators concluded that Hall knew or should have known that the rising test scores that brought her national acclaim resulted from academic fraud. The Fulton subpoena, which mentions only Hall by name, indicates prosecutors want more information about what she knew or did not know.  “It’s obvious she’s a subject of the investigation, ” Martin said. “That’s the only reason you’d be seeking that information.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

138 comments Add your comment


August 17th, 2011
4:15 pm

The word of the day: racketeering.


August 17th, 2011
4:16 pm

The second word: conspiricy.

Atlanta mom

August 17th, 2011
4:19 pm

I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV, but what’s the statue of limitations on these crimes?


August 17th, 2011
4:29 pm

Who cares? They will probobly let this high level crook get away. I’m sure that’s why we haven’t heard anything about a trial for Crawford Lewis and his band of thieves. The “powers that be” are trying to let things die down so they can sweep the raketeering mess under the rug.


August 17th, 2011
4:46 pm

just my opinion, but why have we not called for the prosecution of all the bankers and wall street people who raped and pillaged our entire country? i do not condone the actions that took place in Atlanta, but the response is disproportionate in comparison to the wall street criminals who remain free and highly paid.

not telling

August 17th, 2011
5:02 pm

I hope she goes to federal prison for a very long time.


August 17th, 2011
5:17 pm

I’ve also heard that the Fulton County DA is going to look at the files of central office employees that were retaliated against or wrongfully terminated during Hall’s tenure and those employees who have filed lawsuits. This is about to get very ugly.

A Conservative Voice

August 17th, 2011
5:20 pm

I wanna see her making license tags……

Very Passionate About Our Schools

August 17th, 2011
5:31 pm

I’m not sure I want her making my license plate. If she would cheat on something as big as our schools, etc. then you know she would cheat on material used in our license plates.

Children V. Dogs

August 17th, 2011
5:34 pm

Given the thousands of students over the past twelve who have been robbed of a promising future by not getting proper remediation because they were “;proficient ” – no sentence is too stiff. Hall and her gaggle of lieutenants have perpetrated a crime against generations of our most defenseless children. Heck, Michael Vick went jail for abusing dogs. Lets see if our justice system values children over dogs.

Smell the Coffee

August 17th, 2011
5:36 pm

As I have said before: Atlanta does not jail its black “elite.” I don’t care if it’s mega church preachers who prey on boys, politicians who steal or a superintendent who lies, cheats and steals.
Someday, Justice Must Become COLORBLIND.

Common Sense

August 17th, 2011
5:38 pm

Shame on our justice system if our youth are not allowed to learn what happens to those who flagrantly violate their well being and the law. How will we ever reduce crime and other forms of graft if they witness such a double standard.

Vet - POW '68-'71

August 17th, 2011
5:40 pm

The bonus money they have received makes me sick. Just think, I have to spend money out of my disability check to buy school supplies for my grandchildren. Criminals!


August 17th, 2011
5:43 pm

Hall’s jfamily name is “Fats. ” Well I pray that Fats goes to prison.

Maureen Downey

August 17th, 2011
5:45 pm

@Smell, Not sure if you have been in a caffeine coma, but plenty of black leaders have gone to jail, including former Mayor Bill Campbell. State Sen. Charles Walker is still in prison. So is former DeKalb Sheriff Sid Dorsey. Ralph Abernathy III went to prison twice for his crimes.

The 411

August 17th, 2011
5:45 pm

Formula: Black DA + Black Superintendent hires high profile black criminal defense attorney (I’ve been told he’s friend of the DA) ….and to add icing to the cake, an embarrassed Chamber that got caught up in the overall conspiracy by shielding Hall. The overwhelming logic of this equation = no prosecution.
Never hold on to false hope!

Slap on the Wrist

August 17th, 2011
5:48 pm

The self-serving architects of this crime, Hall & Augustine will not suffer! I can hear the sentence now:
“Probation with community service”…you know, something like… they’ll have to read “Br’erRabbit to underprivileged kindergarten children…once a week for a year.

Slap on the wrist, but a big SLAP in the public’s face.


August 17th, 2011
5:52 pm

Big time criminal defense attorney Rick Deane. You would think Hall is accused of pushing narcotics instead of test scores.
APS is paying legal bill: Milk ‘em dry Rick. This is better than a big heroin case…unlimited billable hours.
The APS board may have agreed to pay Hall’s legal bills, but do they have to consent to a big time, expensive criminal lawyer. Can the board choose the lawyer, one that does not charge $380 per hour? Someone please help me with an answer.

spin doctor

August 17th, 2011
5:54 pm

All the folks piling on her, wow, when have you all been to a board meeting, when have you volunteered at the school. Tutored a kid. Do something other than blog and play monday morning quarterback. Get involved the lives of these kids depend on your involvment now

You can’t bring down the central office by just blogging

Get up and stand up for real change.

Wethers it is vouchers, charters, new adminstrators, new board members, you need to be more involved. We need more competition in my opinion. More options the 130 Triniity

Concerned Grandmother

August 17th, 2011
6:03 pm

Shame on our justice system if our youth are not allowed to learn what happens to those who flagrantly violate their well being and the law. How will we ever reduce crime and other forms of graft they witness such a double standard.

How Low Can You Go

August 17th, 2011
6:05 pm

How low can you go.
Stealing from hardworking taxpayers and especially, disadvantaged children who have been denied real learning opportunities because they were academically “sound.” How shameful.


August 17th, 2011
6:07 pm

wow, no joke. She should get a legal aide attorney. Realistically, if she had to pay for it herself, someone might even volunteer for this case. Since APS is paying…well..she will get the tops.

MD '77

August 17th, 2011
6:09 pm

Twelve years of bullying staff into this type of behavior is not erased overnight. APS has a systemic disease that will require corrective treatment for a number of years. The district’s efforts in this regard must be carefully monitored and evaluated by oversight agencies, and most importantly, the free press.

Retired History Teacher

August 17th, 2011
6:14 pm

As a former teacher, I had to pay for professional liability insurance through my teacher’s organization to cover legal expenses that may result from a law suit. But my policy did not cover accusations of a felonious nature. I would have been responsible.

At what point does APS bear no responsibility? Lying/Obstructing Justice/Destroying Documents/Conspiring to Interfere with an Investigation…all felonies. What if Hall had allegedly sexually assaulted a teacher. Would APS pay her legal fees? Her case and legal fees at 380 an hour could drag on for ever.

loss of White prestige

August 17th, 2011
6:15 pm

My heart sank when I learned that the NAACP will not protest the investigation or sue to make it stop.

If anyone can come to the rescue of our courageous and accomplished Mrs. Hall, it should be the NAACP and the black preachers (voodoos who shout “Jesus”).

Haper-Archer Parent

August 17th, 2011
6:28 pm

Ideally, Hall & Augustine should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. After all they bullied staff into this behavior and then lied through extensively involving others in the cover-up. I can only imagine the community’s anger being greatly soothed if this were to happen.

Sharon Pitts must Go

August 17th, 2011
6:28 pm

Hysterical…Sharon Pitts her Chief of Staff is now lead attorney for APS…what a joke…she and others are still in place protecting Hall and her culture


August 17th, 2011
6:29 pm

Insufficient evidence – no one rats in the hood. Book it.

Your Conscience

August 17th, 2011
6:36 pm

@loss of White prestige August 17th, 2011 6:15 pm

HUH! WHAT? The NAACP has bigger fish to fry. Why waste their time and resources on someone who obviously is GUILTY.

You reap what you sow. This is payback for all of the things Dr. Hall and her administrators did to innocent, hardworking, employees who tried to do THE RIGHT THING.


Common Sense

August 17th, 2011
6:39 pm

@Maureen I agree with you that black notables have been prosecuted.

Hall’s lieutenants will reveal everything when placed under the pressure of prosecution, and will cut deals as soon as possible. They don’t have the funds for a quality criminal defense.


August 17th, 2011
7:01 pm

I’d love to see a former APS employee charge across the court room, dive across the table and tackle Beverly Hall during her arraignment.

slumbering dragon

August 17th, 2011
7:03 pm

When will Beverly Hall play the race card?

“If all dems White Privilege Whiteys hadn’t segregated deysefs aways from de Divers-i-tee in The ATL, we’s wouldn’t uh haed dis here problem.”

Anybody read White Flight? It tells about Whites “abandoning” Atlanta when the blacks started moving in. It actually said Whites “must recognize” that they are responsible for the dysfunctions in black Atlanta!!!!

Let Dr. Hall play that one, and she’ll get off scott free. Blame Whitey always works. Just ask the King Children who are blinging with $32,000,000 after selling their dad’s papers (shakedown racket).


August 17th, 2011
7:27 pm

Mr. Howard had best prosecute this crook by the most aggressive — and legal — methods available, or he will start feeling the wrath of parents and grandparents of children who were cheated out of a public education — by Hall and her gang of greedy thieves!

Atlanta mom

August 17th, 2011
8:00 pm

I’m tired of hearing about “professionals” who were being bullied. If you are a professional, and you are being bullied, why did you stick around? Why did you cheat? Why did you not pick up your marbles and go somewhere else?


August 17th, 2011
8:01 pm

We should also fight paying the attorney’s fees to the extent legally possible. $127 k and she hasn’t been indicted or testified yet.

Remember the Children

August 17th, 2011
8:02 pm

Somehow I have the faith that Superintendent Davis is going to see that this is done right and Beverly Hall is served with legal justice. He may not have academic/educational experience beyond serving on various University Boards, but he does have business experience as former CEO of a major corporation. Plus, on a personal level he funds a charity corporation that assists African-American college students.

I think he’ll lower the boom on her.

Shocked at this

August 17th, 2011
8:25 pm

I thought I read this summer that aps is not on the hook for Hall’s legal fees related to CRIMINAL charges. The system is responsible for legal fees associates with civil litigation. Maureen, can you check in to this?


August 17th, 2011
8:28 pm

How long until the airport gets changed to Campbell-Franklin-Hall International Airport?

Really amazed

August 17th, 2011
8:28 pm

This topic makes me insane!!!! This isn’t a Beverly Hall issue! This is what public education has resorted to. Cheating, yes not just APS! They just happenend to get caught!!!!! Give me and everyone having to listen to this BS a break! I still can’t understand why parents are willing to subject their child to this type of education. There are far too many other options for all!!!!


August 17th, 2011
8:37 pm

Not sure why Bev thinks the school system should pay her attorney fees. A) she isn’t an employee anymore and B) she wasn’t hired to do illegal things. Her activities were outside the requirements of her job. Send the bills back.

John Konop

August 17th, 2011
8:40 pm

It seems some question if Kathy Cox had a part in this scandal. Does not sound like she got any cover from the Governor Deal and does not the buck stop at the door of Kathy Cox?

….Kathy Cox was state superintendent between 2003 and 2009 when the alleged cheating occurred. According to Governor Deal’s representative, Jen Talaber, “Gov. Deal was not governor at the time when Ms. Cox was superintendent, and it would not be appropriate for us to comment on what role, if any, she played in CRCT cheating. The CRCT report stands on its own,” Talaber said.

Former Superintendent Kathy Cox, who resigned to accept a position as Chief Executive Officer for the U.S. Education Delivery Institute on July 1, 2010 Washington, D.C., was called at her office

A spokesperson for Ms. Cox, Luly Demaro, said, “Ms. Cox has no comments at this time.”…..

Atlanta mom

August 17th, 2011
8:41 pm

@ remember, you said: Somehow I have the faith that Superintendent Davis is going to see that this is done right and Beverly Hall is served with legal justice.
Mr. Davis has nothing to do with this. It’s the judicial system now.


August 17th, 2011
8:43 pm

Nothing will happen as long as Paul Howard is DA!


August 17th, 2011
8:47 pm

At what point can I sue the APS board for the legal fees? because those fees are the direct result of them negotiating a contract with hall. they should be PERSONALLY responsible for those legal fees. Because it’s absurd, I tell ya.

just watching

August 17th, 2011
8:50 pm

@chilly willy….

Would love to see that take down myself.

This entire mess is going to bleed APS dry. Between the salaries for the employees not doing their actual teaching/admin jobs, to legal fees, to the SACS expenses, to less tax revenue, to eventually less FTE for students fleeing the system to other districts or private schools…’s going to get scary monitarily. And while I will concede that there are other districts in the nation that do more educating with less money, there’s only so low on funds that you can go and still be functional and address all the issues that APS needs to address.

John Konop

August 17th, 2011
8:54 pm

Interesting reaction on the CRCT cheating scandal when this story broke from Kathy Cox verse Sonny Perdue, why the difference between their reactions?

……“To misinterpret this, to accuse people of cheating, that’s not going on here,” said state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox. “In these particular schools, we want to go in and take a closer look.”
Gov. Sonny Perdue, on the other hand, was ready to wield his terrible swift sword. “It’s shameful. I’m disheartened,” he said. “We’re sending the signal that … we will tolerate no less than absolute fairness, absolute honesty and absolute transparency.”
Perdue himself briefed reporters on the findings of the investigation conducted by his Office of Student Achievement. Cox was not in the room……..

The Wizard

August 17th, 2011
9:03 pm

One must ask what precipitated a decade of cheating. Hall and her top assistant’s reveled in being lauded with praise and bonuses, of course this became a feeding frenzy which only intensified their brutish behavior toward others to report “outstanding” test score growth. In short, personal greed was the accelerant.

New Leadership at APS

August 17th, 2011
9:03 pm

Paul Howard DA for fulton county should not be involve because his wife work for APS.

MD '77

August 17th, 2011
9:07 pm

Hall & Augustine cultivated a virus of cheating and lying which literally grew out of control and continues to grow. Many children and adults have been seriously harmed. Our educational system has become the nation’s laughing stock. At a mnimum, Hall & Augustine must face the most harsh consequences.

Sitting "on the floofr"

August 17th, 2011
9:10 pm

Hall will not be in the balcony, she’ll be sitting on the floor…..the jail house floor!!!!!!!!!