SUITLAND, Md. — Months after allegations arose of widespread grade fraud in the Prince George’s County school system, the Maryland State Department of Education has announced that it’s hired a firm to investigate the claims.
According to a statement issued Tuesday by state education officials, the D.C. firm of Alvarez and Marsal will “conduct a comprehensive audit of the Prince George’s County School system graduation rates.”
Members of the county’s school board made the allegations, and Gov. Larry Hogan called for such an audit after members of the county’s delegation to Annapolis requested a review.
Prince George’s County schools CEO Kevin Maxwell said that he welcomed the investigation by the state.
“I think it’s great! I’m glad they’re finally getting started,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell made the comments at a news conference calling to change Hogan’s executive order that mandates schools open after Labor Day.
Maxwell was adamant that there was never any wrongdoing. He said that he was confident that auditors would find no widespread misconduct. “We’ve said all along there is no effort by my administration or myself to tell people to cheat.”
However, Maxwell conceded that there may be some issues regarding how grades were recorded and handled.
“Do we have some people who haven’t dotted i’s or crossed t’s—or not followed all the directions they were given? Undoubtedly, in an organization of over 20,000 employees,” said Maxwell. “That doesn’t make it a systemic issue.”
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker insisted, like Maxwell, that he was sure that no widespread fraud would be found.
“Where there are things that have gone wrong, those people will be dealt with,” said Baker, who is running for governor and recently reappointed Maxwell to serve another four years as CEO for the school system.
The firm hired by the Department of Education is expected to have its final report ready by October 31.