MPS votes to hire private investigator in grade-changing case - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

MPS board member asks AG's office to investigate grade-changing allegations

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Board President Charlotte Meadows voted yes for the school board to hire a private investigator. But she doesn't think that's enough.

"As an independent person, I sent a letter to the Attorney General on Friday asking if they would become involved in this."

Meadows believes another investigation by yet another source would help keep the school system from any conflicts of interest.

"The public is very concerned that if we're paying for the investigation that it might not be independent."

Six of the seven board members were at the meeting and voted unanimously to hire John Mulligan to investigate.

Mulligan is a former FBI agent and was lead investigator with the Attorney General's office for 11 years.

"I just think that each entity will have a different aspect of investigating. So I definitely think that if we could get the AG's office involved, I think that would be helpful," says board member Melissa Snowden.

Snowden believes she was the first person alerted in August to possible grade changing at three Montgomery high schools. She says a reporter contacted her. She immediately took the concerns to Superintendent Barbara Thompson who then began conversations with the reporter.

She didn't hear anything about it until Thompson announced the allegations.

"I thought, ok, it's probably just a disgruntled employee exaggerating," says Snowden.

No matter where the allegations originated, board members say investigating is the only option.

"We hope and we and we pray that those allegations are not found," says board member Robert Porterfield.

"At the end of the day that the school system come out with the credibility that we need to have to be a successful school system," adds Meadows.

The board approved to pay the private investigator $80 dollars an hour with a $10,000 dollar cap.

The State Board of Education is also conducting its own investigation.

Superintendent Thompson says there aren't really any new details to the allegations. She's ready to let the investigations take their course.

Meadows says she expects to hear back from the Attorney General's office in about two weeks.

Copyright 2012  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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