News Briefs (Jan. 10 - 16)

1/10/2014, 6 a.m.

Former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall said she did not orchestra a cheating scandal.

Former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall said she did not orchestra a cheating scandal.

Six APS educators plead guilty in test cheating scandal

ATLANTA (AP) - Six more indicted Atlanta Public Schools educators have pleaded guilty to their involvement in a standardized test-cheating conspiracy.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1lKRehv) reported Monday that former Parks Middle School Teacher, Starlette Mitchell, admitted to changing incorrect answers on tests between 2007 and 2009.

Former Venetian Hills Elementary principal, Clarietta Davis, pleaded guilty to making false statements.

Ex-Parks Middle School teacher Kimberly Oden pleaded guilty to obstruction.

Former Dobbs Elementary teacher Derrick Broadwater, ex-Kennedy Middle School secretary, Carol Dennis, and former Dunbar Elementary teacher Gloria Ivey have also pleaded guilty.

Most defendants have been sentenced to probation, community service and have been ordered to return any bonuses they were paid for Criterion Referenced Competency Test scores that indicated improved student achievement.

Thirty-five educators were indicted in the cheating scandal. The remaining charged educators have until Jan. 24 to either accept a deal or go to trial.

Regents to discuss smoking ban at Ga. colleges

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - The board that governs Georgia's public colleges and universities is considering banning tobacco from campuses statewide.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss the proposed tobacco ban at its meeting Wednesday in Atlanta. The ban would prohibit faculty, students, staff and even spectators at sporting events from smoking or using smokeless tobacco in both indoor and outdoor parts of college campuses.

The Athens Banner-Herald reported Sunday that (http://bit.ly/1dIiyfb) the policy would tighten anti-smoking policies at campuses such as the University of Georgia, which has prohibited lighting up within 35 feet of building entrances since 2011.

Smoking in public buildings is already prohibited by state law, and is banned from UGA's Sanford Stadium and other athletic facilities. If adopted by the Board of Regents, the tobacco ban would affect all 31 campuses in the University System of Georgia and would take effect on July 1.

The newspaper reported that other colleges in the area banned smoking on campus years ago.

Woodruff sells 14th Street Playhouse to SCAD

ATLANTA (AP) - The Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta says it has agreed to sell the 14th Street Playhouse to the Savannah College of Art and Design. The organizations said in a news release Thursday that the Woodruff Arts Center is selling the playhouse to the school for $1.9 million. The expansion will complement SCAD's M.A. and M.F.A. film and television degree programs, which began in Atlanta in 2013.

The Woodruff Arts Center plans to invest the proceeds from the sale in the arts in Atlanta, including giving $1 million to The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The foundation plans to create a fund to serve performing arts organizations, particularly theater and dance companies.

The arts center plans to use the remaining proceeds to design programs with local artists across multiple artistic disciplines.

Georgia attorney to lead Office of Child Advocate

ATLANTA (AP) - Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed attorney Ashley Willcott the new director of the Office of Child Advocate, the official watchdog of the state's child welfare system. Willcott replaces Tonya Boga, who resigned in November. Officials with the state Division of Family and Children Services have been under scrutiny for the handling of cases involving two children who later died.