Channel 2 Action News has learned the 35 people indicted in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal have to report to the Fulton County jail by Tuesday, April 2. Channel 2 Action News crews are at the jail to question anyone who may turn themselves in this weekend.
On Friday, a Fulton County grand jury returned an indictment containing 65 counts against the defendants accused of cheating on CRCT standardized tests. Among those indicted were former superintendent Beverly Hall, along with teachers, principals, executive directors and other personnel. A timeline of developments in the investigation is below.
10:00 p.m.: From Scott MacFarlane in our Washington Bureau: U.S. Education Department declines requests for comment on criminal charges in Atlanta schools cheating scandal.
8:47 p.m.: We just got in a statement from Dr. Beverly Hall's attorneys, saying, "We are obviously disappointed that the District Attorney has brought charges against Dr. Beverly Hall.
"Dr. Hall denies these charges and, as she has said all along, she denies any involvement in cheating on the CRCT exam or any other wrongdoing.
"We note that as far as has been disclosed, despite the thousands of interviews that were reportedly done by the Governor's investigators and others, not a single person reported that Dr. Hall participated in or directed them to cheat on the CRCT.
"We intend to vigorously defend this case and we are confident that when all the evidence is in, she will be fully vindicated."
7:46 p.m.: Channel 2 Action News receives a hard copy of the indictment. Click here to read it.
6:36 p.m.: Channel 2 Action News confirms Hall's bond is recommended at $7.5 million. She could face 45 years in prison.
6:33 p.m.: The indicted are being asked to turn themselves in on Tuesday, April 2.
6:17 p.m.: Wrap-up: The indictment lists 65 counts against 35 people. Suspects include former Superintendent Beverly Hall, Chief Human Resources Officer Millicent Few, three school resource team executive directors, six principals, two assistant principals, six testing coordinators, one school improvement specialist, 13 teachers and one secretary.
6:05 p.m.: District Attorney Paul Howard on Beverly Hall: "She was a full participant in that conspiracy."
6:00 p.m.: Mike Bowers, former state attorney general and investigator in the case, speaks. He gives the DA's Office credit for courage.
5:56 p.m.: Current Superintendent Erroll Davis takes the mic. The CRCT scandal was announced his fifth day on the job. "At that time, I knew I had a lot to do to restore the public's trust," he said. Safeguards have now been put in place regarding testing materials, he says.
5:53 p.m.: Howard introduces two Atlanta families, whom he says represent the injustices of the district's cheating. One mother sought help for a child who had trouble reading but whose CRCT scores reflected otherwise. Howard says the woman was told her daughter tests well. "They have provided the courage for our office to complete this investigation," Howard said.
5:48 p.m.: District Attorney Paul Howard begins news conference over APS indictments.
5:36 p.m.: There are 35 APS educators charged with racketeering. Hall has also been charged with false statements and writing, theft by taking and false swearing. Her former No. 2, Kathy Augustine, has NOT been named in the indictment.
5:28 p.m.: We're expecting a news conference over the indictments at 5:30 p.m.
5:07 p.m.: Former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall and others have been indicted on racketeering charges.
5:04 p.m.: Channel 2's Richard Belcher learns grand jurors are leaving the courthouse.
5:03 p.m.: Channel 2's Carl Willis spots a deputy walking out with indictments.
4:59 p.m.: Judge Bedford has agreed to stay until 5:30 p.m. in order to have indictment presented in open court. Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri has learned it will arrive in about 10 minutes.
4:32 p.m.: A source, who initially said the grand jury had reached a decision, says there has been a glitch. Due to the glitch, jurors have returned to the grand jury room and could reconvene.
A decision has been made in the grand jury hearing over the Atlanta Public School cheating scandal, but it is unclear what jurors have decided.
Around 4 p.m., Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said the grand jury was deliberating. Shortly before 4:30 p.m., Channel 2 Action News learned a decision had been made.
Dozens of educators could face charges for alleged cheating on standardized state tests. A state investigation implicated 178 educators, including 38 principals. The report looked at CRCT scores from 2009. Investigators believe the test scores were tied to monetary bonuses for at least 35 former teachers and administrators.
Channel 2’s Mark Winne was at the Fulton County courthouse, where former state Attorney General Mike Bowers testified before the grand jury Friday. He is the only investigator in the case to testify.
Sources have told Channel 2 Action News a proposed indictment includes racketeering and conspiracy charges and names at least 35 defendants, including ranking administrators, principals and teachers.
Winne has learned that the grand jury has heard from more than 36 witnesses. Students threatened to cover up cheating and parents who complained about the situation testified Thursday, according to a source. Teachers who have admitted to cheating have revealed who put them up to it.
Though her lawyer maintains her innocence, prosecutors are expected to name former superintendent Beverly Hall.
The 2011 state investigation said, "Dr. Hall failed in her leadership of, and ultimate responsibility for, testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of the CRCT in 2009, as well as in previous years. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the evaluation of students to the State Department of Education with regard to the results of the 2009 CRCT in the APS system."