Whistleblower hotline for Prince George's Co. Public Schools grade-fixing probe never sent to staff

- More than a month into a state audit of Prince George's County Public Schools, district administration still hasn’t alerted staff to the hotline and email address established by investigators.

Months ago, several school board members wrote a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan requesting the investigation, alleging grade fixing and other fraud to boost the high school graduation rate. The Maryland State Department of Education hired an outside firm to perform the audit.

“I'm still meeting teachers today, to this day, that don't realize that the hotline number has already been made public and is available for them,” said Edward Burroughs, one of the board members who requested the state investigation.

The audit began at the end of August with the expectation it will be completed by Oct. 31. On Sept. 18, the D.C. consulting firm doing the investigation, Alvarez and Marsal, put out a hotline and email for people with information.

The board members who called for the probe,  Burroughs, David Murray and Raaheela Ahmed, are asking why the contact information went only to the media and not directly to high school staff.

District spokesman John White says media coverage by FOX 5 and a few other outlets has been sufficient to publicize the information.

"The state's investigation has been well publicized in our county and we have followed all of the firm's directions and process,” White said in an email.

White also said that the auditors are working with the school board’s compliance hotline that White says is “well known and utilized by employees.”

LINK: You can find the link to the hotline here

Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell has continued to deny allegation of systemic fraud, and according to emails obtained by FOX 5, he did send out all staff emails about that.

“When Dr. Maxwell was defending himself that this was not happening, he sent out several emails to the countywide ListServ,” Burroughs said. “This isn't a controversial thing, this isn't a difficult thing. We send out countywide employee emails on a weekly basis almost so I think this is a very reasonable request.”

With Maxwell refusing to send an email, board members tried to get one sent out through their own school board ListServ that goes to parents, community members and some staff. According to emails, board chair Segun Eubanks initially denied the request, but then allowed an email to go out Monday.

Eubanks didn’t reply to requests for comment.

The hotline established by investigators is 1-833-535-6103 and the email address is PGCPSSpecialReview@alvarezandmarsal.com.

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