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Gene Harris Charged With Dereliction Of Duty

Columbus City Schools

Former Columbus City Schools superintendent Gene Harris will plead no contest on Wednesday to a second-degree misdemeanor charge of dereliction of duty, in connection with the district's attendance data-fixing scandal. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien says in the plea deal, Harris agrees to cooperate with other investigations and testify in other cases if necessary.

Harris was required by law to make sure the district’s data submitted to the state for calculating state report cards was accurate, but she submitted data she knew had been falsified in 2012. Harris faces up to 90 days in jail and a 750 dollar fine. Some top-level district administrators and many principals falsified student attendance and grade data to make some schools appear to perform better academically. Former district data chief Steve Tankovich and former Marion-Franklin High School assistant principal Stanley Pyle have been convicted for their roles in the scandal. O'Brien says charges are pending against former district regional director Michael Dodds.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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