APS teachers on leave ordered to meeting

by: Tom Regan Updated:

ATLANTA,None - Teachers named in the Atlanta Public School cheating investigation could learn their fate at a mandatory Thursday meeting. Channel 2’s Tom Regan obtained a copy of the letter from APS ordering educators on paid leave to attend.

“On behalf of the Superintendent, you are hereby directed to report at the following time and location in order to meet with APS representatives to discuss your employment status,” the letter said.

It is unclear exactly what action will be taken at the meeting, but APS Superintendent Erroll Davis told Channel 2 Action News on Wednesday that he will take steps to prevent contract renewals for 90 tenured teachers and other educators named in the school district’s cheating scandal.

"I'm not intending to issue contracts to anyone that has not been exonerated and has not had a proceeding, so, I'm anticipating we will get our work done prior to May 15," Davis said.

Under state law, tenured teachers on paid administrative leave are entitled to a one-year contract extension on May 15 unless the district takes action to terminate them for cause. Contract extensions would cost APS millions more in salary payments to teachers who have been out of the classroom since last year.

Thus far, the school system has paid over $6 million in salary and compensation to 120 teachers on paid administrative leave.

The termination process for teachers who cheated on Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests has been delayed by a separate criminal investigation by the Fulton County district attorney.

Davis said he has worked out a plan to review files still in possession of the district attorney to gather evidence to exonerate or fire educators.

"We have a made a number of arrangements that will allow (the district attorney), not necessarily to release the information but allow us to have access to it. We will make substantial movement between now and the 15th (of May),” Davis said.

On a separate matter, Davis responded to complaints on statements he made in a Patch news interview about school redistricting in North Atlanta.

Davis said, "Some of the arguments (from parents) sound like, 'I want to preserve my country club.' I love the letters that say, ‘I demand.’ Or, ‘I pay $8,000 in property taxes.’ Property taxes are not private school tuition.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Davis said his comment was intended to make an important point.

"Our purpose in not necessarily to keep social clusters together. We're not a club designed to do that. That was the focus of comments." said Davis.