Deal says cheating scandal won't hurt state's economic growth

by: Tom Regan Updated:

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ATLANTA - Gov. Nathan Deal spoke publicly for the first time on the criminal charges brought against Atlanta Public Schools former superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 other educators last week.

"No one likes to see educators being indicted, but by the same token, none of us likes to see the evidence that came out of the cheating investigation that was very well documented during the investigative stage. It is regrettable, but I think the message has to be sent that this is not something that will be tolerated," said Deal.

The educators were indicted March 29. Most surrendered last week at the Fulton County Jail.

Deal told Channel 2's Tom Regan that he doesn't believe fallout from the largest school test-cheating scandal will adversely impact state economic development and Georgia's ability to lure new business.

"It's never good when you have things like this happen in your state. The fact is, we acted affirmatively, positively. We didn't sweep it under the rug. We hit it head-on, and I think this is a culmination of those initial efforts to uncover what was wrong and deal with it as law provides," said Deal.

Regan caught up with Deal at an event at the Clay National Guard Center in Marietta. Deal signed a bill that will make it easier for veterans to get state license certification for skills learned while serving the state and nation. The governor also congratulated the Georgia Army National Guard for winning a nationwide competition for operational excellence.