Former APS principal pleads guilty in cheating scandal - CBS46 News

Former Parks Middle School principal pleads guilty in cheating scandal

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The former principal and test coordinator at Parks Middle School have pleaded guilty to their roles in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.

Christopher Waller, the former principal, agreed to pay $50,000 in fines, perform 1,000 hours of community service and will testify in the cheating trials.

Waller read an apology in court.

"I accept responsibility for this conduct which was unethical, immoral, dishonest and criminal," said Waller.

Prosecutors said Waller told them former School Superintendent Beverly Hall and other administrators pressured him to get students to pass.

"No matter how hard the teachers work, however, no matter how much we actually improve the school, there was no way we could keep up with the targets," said Waller. "The targets were unattainable. We cheated to obtain the targets."

Hall has denied any wrongdoing.

Parks' testing coordinator Sandra Carter Ward, 44, also pleaded guilty. The felony charge was reduced to misdemeanor obstruction. She was ordered to serve 12 months probation, pay $5,000 restitution in bonus money she received, perform 250 hours community service, and will also testify for the state.

Ward also read a letter of apology in court and said, "I sincerely regret my involvement."

Friday was the deadline to strike a deal before the trial of the remaining educators. In all 21 of 34 who were indicted have now pleaded guilty.

The remaining 13 can still plead guilty but will not be given reduced charges. Those who opt to go to trial will do so beginning May 6.

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