BESE members, legislators attempt to set record straight on EBR school audit

BESE members, legislators attempt to set record straight on EBR school audit
Photo provided by staff
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 8:00pm

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Carolyn Hill has got some serious issues with rumors and allegations of cheating in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system by an anonymous ‘whistle-blower’.

"The allegations that were made, were done orally, nothing handwritten or typed or sent to the department in regards to these allegations. And they were not investigating cheating, it was more along the lines of graduation discrepancies," explained Hill.

Emails sent between Superintendent John White and Hill confirm that the complaints were made orally and that there is no written record of the allegations.

“There is no copy of a record regarding the complaint. We received it orally, through conversation,” stated White in an email to Hill after she requested a copy of the complaint.

The department launched the audit after that un-named 'whistle-blower' told department heads that there was widespread graduation issues and cheating in the system.

"We’re going to start with the graduation records and if there's a pattern that that audit reveals then we might look at other things. But for now it is just limited to that and that's all we've ever said it's going to be," explained Superintendent John White.

At least one of those graduation problems was already reported to Superintendent White and his team by the EBR school board.

"There was a discrepancy, all we're going in to do is audit it to make sure that it's not a pattern. This is not about rumors, it's just about what we said we're going to do," shared White when asked if there was truth to rumors of an investigation into cheating within the system.

Belinda Davis has children in the East Baton Rouge public school system. For years she has been fighting for and defending the East Baton Rouge school system. She and several others see the un-named whistle-blower's move as a way to try and undermine the public schools and support those in favor of a break-away school system.

"There is no cheating scandal in the East Baton Rouge school system. This appears to be a politically manufactured stunt to call into question the academic progress and advances that our school district has made," emphasized Davis.

Politically motivated or not, Hill feels the East Baton Rouge school system is being singled out for one reason or another.

"You have a traditional public school that is making great strides and now you want to put out some information that is false, so yes to me, it's more like a witch hunt," said Hill.

Fellow BESE member Lottie Beebe introduced an amendment Wednesday that would require Superintendent White to report future audits and investigations to the board.

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