Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ex-Atlanta schools superintendent surrenders

ATLANTA — Confusion, anger and charges of racism played out at the Fulton County Jail here Tuesday as the arduous process of booking 35 educators in the nation's largest school-cheating scandal began.

The biggest focus was on Beverly L. Hall, the former school superintendent who rose through the education ranks in Newark, N.J., and New York City and who was named superintendent of the year during her 12 years with the Atlanta district.

A grand jury charged Hall and the other educators Friday with essentially running a conspiracy in which standardized test scores were secretly raised as a way to get bonuses and ensure job security.

As the day unfolded Tuesday, however, it became clear that the judicial system was unprepared for the initial stages of the prosecution.

The teachers, principals and administrators had been told that they had to report to jail by Tuesday, at which time they could argue to have bail amounts as high as $7.5 million reduced. As evening came, only 18 had been processed, but several had won a break in their bond requirements.

Most notably, Hall negotiated her $7.5 million bond — considered a largely punitive figure set by the grand jurors, some of whom argued for it to be $10 million — down to $200,000.

Lawyers for the defendants, saying they were baffled by what appeared to be a lack of coordination between District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr., the jail and the courts, were working to try to reduce the amount of bond set for teachers who had no criminal records and to keep them from spending time in jail.

All totaled, the educators face 65 charges in a cheating scandal that first came to light in 2009. A team of state-appointed investigators spent 21 months looking into allegations that teachers and administrators at a handful of Atlanta schools had routinely changed test scores or given students correct answers. That report became the basis for the criminal charges issued Friday.

While defense lawyers worked to have their clients freed, a group of black clergy members and former educators called the charges and the bail extreme and an indication of a deeper, long-simmering racial divide in the city and the state.

In a blog post, former Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta on Tuesday called the fury surrounding the indictments "a public hanging" and called for fairness and justice as the case proceeds.

Former Atlanta Public Schools superinten-dent Beverly Hall, center, heads toward the Fulton County jail to turn herself in on Tuesday in Atlanta. She and nearly three dozen subordinates were indicted in a cheating scandal.

Former Atlanta Public Schools superinten-dent Beverly Hall, center, heads toward the Fulton County jail to turn herself in on Tuesday in Atlanta. She and nearly three dozen subordinates were indicted in a cheating scandal.

Ex-Atlanta schools superintendent surrenders 04/02/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often


    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
  2. Two Boca Ciega students arrested on charges they brought gun to high school football game


    PINELLAS PARK — Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for having a loaded semi-automatic handgun with them at a Friday night football game at Pinellas Park High School.

    Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for bringing a weapon on school property on Friday night at a high school football game at Pinellas Park High School.
  3. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005


    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  4. Crash at U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park kills one, shuts down traffic


    PINELLAS PARK — A man is dead after a crash between two cars at the intersection of U.S. Highway 19 and 70th Avenue N just after 7 a.m. Saturday.

    Pinellas Park police are investigating the death of a man during a crash on U.S. 19 early Saturday. (Pinellas Park police)
  5. Tropics watch: The latest on Harvey and what systems could hit Florida


    While Eastern and Central America monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Harvey, two tropical disturbances are moving through the Atlantic.