by: Tom Regan Updated:ATLANTA —
Atlanta Public School teachers targeted for firing in the CRCT cheating scandal will have an opportunity to fight the accusations beginning Wednesday.
The school district will hold tribunal hearings for the first of 11 educators who have received letters outlining evidence and the grounds for termination.
The tribunal, made up of three to five education experts, will hear evidence from both sides and make one of three possible recommendations to the school board: termination, reinstatement or suspension for one to 60 days.
Lawyers for more than 20 educators are questioning the appeals process.
"Right now, we have received no evidence," attorney Mel Goldstein said.
Goldstein said that both APS and the Fulton County district attorney have declined to share evidence collected by state investigators, including taped interviews with teachers. The attorneys said that has compromised the appeals process.
"Every other case we have done, we have always been provided with all the evidence. We believe it's a violation of law, which we will be raising at the hearing or some other time," said Goldstein.
According to APS, each tribunal hearing could last for several hours or even days.
"The tribunal convenes like a jury. They will come up with a recommendation that is then conveyed to the school board," APS spokesman Keith Bromery said.
Bromery said three of 11 educators who received charge letters for termination have decided to resign rather than appeal the decision. About 180 educators were implicated in the test cheating scandal, and more than 100 remain on paid administrative leave.
The Fulton County district attorney is also conducting a separate criminal investigation into the charges.