APS Ethics Panel Pursuing El Cases, Considering Outside Officer for English Case

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(APN) ATLANTA — Several Atlanta Public Schools parents have contacted Atlanta Progressive News to report significant progress at last night’s Atlanta Public Schools Ethics Commission meeting, of Wednesday, February 09, 2011.

First, the Commission agreed to investigate the two ethics complaints filed against APS Board of Education Chairman Khaatim El.

As previously reported by APN, El received private, pro bono public relations services from the Alisias PR firm, while El and the BOE were considering Alisias for a formal APS contract.  El–in addition to Courtney English, Yolanda Johnson, and Nancy Meister–received pro bono services from Alisias, and had communications with Alisias while the formal APS contract with the same firm was being considered.

Other media outlets such as 11Alive NBC news and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper are now beginning to cover the ethical case involving Alisias, which APN has been reporting on for several months.

Meanwhile, after being pressured by parents, and receiving several written requests, the Ethics Commission decided to discuss hiring an outside investigator for the new Courtney English complaint.

APN had sent the Ethics Commission a request for an outside investigator over the weekend, as did parent Allison Adair.  State Board of Education member James Bostic also made such a request.

The Commission will discuss whether to bring in an outside investigator for the English case at its next meeting on February 16, 2011, at 7pm.  The Commission will also be considering the English case that evening as well.

As previously reported, APN has received a request for information from the Commission related to substantive issues involved with APN’s reporting on the English case.  APN will be providing all of the requested information to the Commission in the coming days.

Last night, the Commission also decided to take public comment, as requested by several parents.

APN had sent a written inquiry to the Commission as to whether they would take comment at its last meeting; however, they stated the APS Charter prohibited them from accepting comments at their meeting.

Last night, a parent asked the Commission to show them where in the Charter it states that, and determined the Charter actually shows the Commission has discretion.

Commission Chair Susan Pease Langford allowed the public to speak for fifteen minutes to see how it would go, and several parents were able to speak last night.

APN expects a few more ethics complaints regarding APS BOE Members are going to be filed in the next week or so.

Currently, the Commission has three pending investigations which they voted to initiate: two involving El, and one involving English.  The English investigation should be complete by late March and the El investigations should be complete by early April 2011.

(END / 2011)

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