ATLANTA (Reuters) - Just seven of 178 Atlanta educators implicated in a standardized test cheating scandal resigned or retired on Wednesday to avoid being fired, a school spokesman said.
The remaining teachers and principals will now face termination proceedings, Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Keith Bromery said.
Atlanta's interim school superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr. had told the educators accused of cheating they had until Wednesday evening to voluntarily step down or they would be fired.
But the Georgia Association of Educators, a teacher advocacy group, advised its members not to resign, saying the school system was taking action before all the evidence has been uncovered.
A state report issued this month identified 178 teachers and principals accused of cheating on state standardized testing in 2009 as a way to inflate student scores.
Prosecutors in three Atlanta-area counties are weighing whether to file criminal charges.
The school system's actions against the educators are unrelated to any criminal proceedings, Bromery said.
Bromery would not comment on whether the number of educators who accepted the superintendent's offer to leave voluntarily was more or less than expected.
"All the superintendent wanted to do was give people the opportunity to resign or retire without having some sort of termination notice on their record," Bromery said.
Termination notices to the remaining educators will include detailed information about their alleged involvement in the cheating scandal, the spokesman said.
Educators are entitled to hearings to challenge their firings, Bromery added.
He had no time frame for the firing process.
"It's going to take a while," he said.
Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Bohan