State CRCT probe goes full speed -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

State CRCT probe goes full speed

Superintendent Joshua Murfree Superintendent Joshua Murfree

State investigators say it's time to talk, and anyone who doesn't cooperate with the CRCT tampering investigation will go to jail.

WALB News 10 has learned tonight that already there've been some confessions as investigators question teachers, administrators, and others about changing answers on students tests.

School board members are now encouraging others to cooperate in the investigation. Investigators tell us that School Superintendent Joshua Murfree himself is not cooperating with them.

But he denies that. He says the only time he's met with investigators was on the third floor of this building and it was months ago.

It's been months since CRCT investigators requested boxes of documents and records and talked to about 40 teachers and staff, and today they say they have gotten some confessions from people they've question, and information from others. Chief Investigators Richard Hyde says investigators had some trouble with Dr. Murfree.

"I'm not sure what this is all about, but for them to name me, not cooperating, that's pretty strange, that mean they don't know anything about me," Murfree said.

Murfree claims he's never met with Richard Hyde and only talked with investigators in his office. "I only met with a guy named Lance, and some other guys who was a GBI, they had that same conversation on the third floor with me, about taking care of business and I was supporting what was going on because we have not one thing to hide."

Investigators talked with as many as 40 teachers and staff at several schools including Magnolia and West Town Elementary about answers being erased on students' Criterion Referenced Competency Tests.

Investigators say Dr. Murfree and anyone else who doesn't cooperate, will be charged with obstruction.

Board members encourage those with information to come forward.

"Only the board hires and fires, principals don't hire and fire, administrators don't hire and fire so there should really be no reason why, if you've got information that's important than you need to share it," said DCSS Board Member Carol Tharin.

Investigators say it is within their power to offer immunity to those who come forward with information and tell the truth. Dr. Murfree says that's what he's encouraging his staff to do. "What I want people to do is tell the truth and know the truth."

All in a effort to get to the bottom of why the school system had so many erasures on their CRCT's from 2009.

In 2009, eight Dougherty County schools were listed in the severe category because of suspicious erasures on CRCT's.

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