New details revealed on 2nd state graduation audit to be conducted on Prince George's Co. schools

The Maryland State Board of Education provided new details about the second investigation into how Prince George's County Public Schools grades and graduates students.

On Tuesday, the board agreed to use the same D.C. consulting firm, Alvarez & Marsal, to conduct the second audit. The board expects to have the contract with the firm finished in July and the investigation is expected to last six months.

"We're going to include a review of the graduation records of the Prince George's County Public Schools Class of 2018. We're going to do interviews with external Prince George's County Public Schools stakeholders and leadership and staff," said Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon.

The first audit was done last summer into the fall following FOX 5's investigation into allegations students were graduating without meeting requirements. The audit found a host of problems, including that nearly a third of students sampled either shouldn't have graduated or had no records to prove they earned a diploma.

"The whole process has been discouraging with what we learned the first time around," said Andrew Smarick, president of the Maryland State Board of Education. "But I'm pretty optimistic about this. I think we can learn some good things from the second phase, and it will help, not just Prince George's County, but hopefully the rest of the state as we think about graduation requirements, monitoring and so on."

In a prior interview with FOX 5, Gov. Larry Hogan said this second audit could look more closely at why grade changing was so pervasive in the last audit and delve into potential criminal intent. The state board said the new investigation will focus on the current school year and a board spokesman said criminal intent is not in the audit's purview.

In a statement, Hogan's spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said:

"Our administration is committed to ensuring all Maryland children have access to a world-class education, and that our school system is truly accountable to our citizens. Governor Hogan supports action by the State Board of Education to ensure that Prince George's County students aren't being cheated out of the education they deserve, and that wrongdoing - especially by those in positions of authority - is exposed. The governor joins with parents, teachers, the Prince George's County NAACP, the county delegation, and numerous local elected officials in demanding a transparent and accountable school system."

Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell announced earlier this month that he will leave the school district after this school year. However, it is still unclear when exactly that will happen.

Maxwell has not submitted a resignation letter and he is not expected to.

The language used by Maxwell, the school system and county executive's office is that Maxwell is "transitioning" out of the school system and it remains unclear if he quit, was asked to leave or made an agreement to go.

In an email, Prince George's County Board of Education chair Dr. Segun Eubanks said, "Dr. Maxwell has announced that he will begin talks with the Board of Education after the school year ends, how he came to that decision doesn't matter at this point."

But how and why he is leaving with three years left on his contract could impact a potential severance deal.

The rest of Maxwell's contract is worth over a million dollars and there is a lot of concern among teachers, principals and others in the community that he could walk away with a significant golden parachute.

Those severance negotiations have not begun yet, and Eubanks said they won't start until sometime after the school year is over.

Maxwell has refused an interview with FOX 5 indefinitely with a school system spokesman saying the CEO does not want to talk to the media anymore during his time as head of schools.

FOX 5's coverage on the Prince George's County grade-fixing investigation:

Maryland Gov. Hogan: 2nd state audit of PGCPS could look into wrongdoing, broken laws

PGCPS not monitoring data of students on track to graduate this school year

EXCLUSIVE: Fired PGCPS guidance counselor believes he was made a scapegoat for grade-fixing scandal

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan calls on Rushern Baker to fire PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell

Maryland State Board of Education to implement full-time employee to monitor PGCPS

PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell meets with Md. State Board of Education to discuss grade-fixing audit

Prince George's County school board members say emails show pressure to graduate students

Staff changes made at DuVal High School amid PGCPS grade-fixing probe

Rushern Baker, Prince George's County school leaders face tough questioning from Maryland lawmakers

Prince George's Co. Public Schools performed internal audit on student records, documents show

Hogan on grade-fixing probe: Prince George's County and PGCPS have 'refused to take it seriously'

Public weighs in on Prince George's County Public Schools grade-fixing allegations

Prince George's school board chair seeks whistleblower info from board members in grade-fixing audit

Prince George's Co. grade-fixing report says 5 pct of students in sample shouldn't have graduated

Final report for PGCPS grade-fixing probe submitted to Maryland State Board of Education

Whistleblower says employees worked to change students' records before grade-fixing investigation began

Maryland State Department of Education seeks info from public for PGCPS graduation rate probe

Investigation into allegations of fraud, grade-fixing in PGCPS to begin 'immediately'

State Board of Education votes to launch Prince George's County Public Schools grade-fixing probe

Gov. Larry Hogan calls for state investigation into alleged corruption in PGCPS

Md. Gov. Hogan explains why he requested probe on grade fixing allegations against PGCPS

PGCPS board members claim graduation rate 'fraudulently' elevated, call for state investigation

Staff members speak out about pressure from Prince George's Co. Public Schools to graduate students

State investigated grade changing in Prince George's County Public Schools earlier this year

Maxwell: PGCPS grade fixing allegations 'completely and utterly false'

Prince George's County schools CEO denies any fraudulent effort to inflate graduation rate

Rushern Baker says he stands by PGCPS Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell

Prince George's County NAACP asks county executive to not renew contract of Dr. Kevin Maxwell

Prince George's County Public Schools CEO meets with Md. lawmakers about concerning allegations

Prince George's Del. Walker hopes grade fixing allegations are false, but there's a lot of smoke

Sen. Muse condemns Prince George's County alleged grade fixing