PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. – Documents obtained by FOX 5 DC show that more than a year ago, Prince George’s County Public Schools performed its own internal audit that found student records were not being properly maintained as well as “non-compliance with state mandates” pertaining to graduationrequirements.
The existence of the audit reveals top brass at PGCPS knew about deficiencies and problems with records of graduating seniors prior to a state-mandated audit that started over the summer. The state audit was prompted by a FOX 5 investigation into PGCPS staff members claims that teachers were being told to change grades so failing students would graduate, as well as allegations by several board members that there was top down corruption to boost the high school graduation rate.
“It is extremely troubling to know there was a prior audit done that showed we were graduating students that didn’t meet state requirements and our records weren’t properly managed,” said board member Edward Burroughs, one of the members who requested the state audit. “What else don’t we know? Based on this report, it is very clear board leadership is actively withholding information from the full board.”
FOX 5 obtained a nine-page document as well as a 13-page document with a memorandum from the auditor, Michele Winston, to Student Service Associate Superintendent Gwendolyn Mason and Executive Director of Student Services Adrian Talley that details the internal audit findings, recommendations and subsequent action plan.
One recommendation says high school guidance counselors must be required to tally graduation credits for students prior to submitting the list of graduates.
Another states, “(The Office of Student Records, Transfers and Archival Services) should also continue to identify schools with disorganized and incomplete records.”
The internal audit raises new questions about how much schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell knew of the troubles with student records prior to the state audit which showed students are graduating without meeting state requirements.
FOX 5 reached out to PGCPS for a response Monday evening, but still has not heard back. Dr. Kevin Maxwell has agreed to an interview Tuesday afternoon.
A spokesperson for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker says he did not know about the prior internal audit.