APS Teachers On Paid Leave Cost $1M Per Month

Updated:

ATLANTA,None —

The superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools says the school system is in a state of crisis.

The school board held an emergency meeting Friday morning where Superintendent Errol Davis described the school system’s financial crunch amid a scandal involving test cheating. Channel 2’s Tom Regan attended the meeting.

APS Now Faces Budget Crisis

“It’s a crisis in the sense that we didn’t plan for it, but it’s certainly one that we’re going to solve and work through,” Davis said.

With the first day of school fast approaching, the school system is still working on hiring 109 new teachers. So far, 55 contracts have been signed, Davis said. More than 100 teachers and principals are accused in a state investigation of falsifying results to improve CRCT standardized test scores.

While the accused educators appeal their terminations, Davis said, it will cost the school system $1 million per month to support those on administrative leave. Davis said he wasn’t sure how long that would last. In addition, the school system is already facing an $8 million deficit for the 2011-2012 school year.

The board is considering layoffs in the system’s central office, at least two furlough days for teachers and the freezing of construction and vendor contracts. Student to teacher ratios in some classes could go up as well.

Following the board meeting, Regan asked the superintendent about his recent discussions with Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.

"Did he say whether he was going to seek indictments against any employees?" Regan asked.

"He did not, but he is in the process of collecting information from the special investigator as well as from us," Davis answered.

Davis also told Regan the district attorney promised to provide him with the names of accused educators that he rules out for prosecution as soon as possible.

The school system will then take steps to terminate the employees following administrative proceedings. Davis also expects the $1 million the district is playing to employees on leave will slowly shrink.

"As more people accept remedies from the Professional Standards Commission, as they lose their licenses, we will be able to terminate immediately so that number will go down,” Davis said.

Despite setbacks, Davis vowed to have classrooms filled with teachers by Aug. 8, the first day of school.

“There will be teachers in the classroom and based on our projections, there will be the right teachers in the classroom,” he said.