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Counselor with bogus degree remains on staff

By Greg Gelpi

A school counselor with a fake doctorate degree remains on staff at Jonesboro High School.

Clayton County Schools Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Ed Scott said that an investigation is being conducted to determine the validity of the doctorate. In the meantime, she is being paid as a counselor with a master's degree, a reduction from her pay commiserate on her education.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission found 11 teachers in the state were earning extra money based on bogus master's and doctorate degrees earned from Saint Regis University, The Associated Press reported. Following an investigation, the commission decided it would no longer accept credits from the Liberian online university and revoked salary increases granted by the credentials.

Scott said that the Clayton County Schools payroll department is asking for payback of $8,750.81.

The counselor received certification for a doctorate effective March 1, 2003. She was being paid $57,212.04 for this school year, but was reduced to $46,669.92.

"The documents this individual presented appeared to be from an accredited college," Scott said. "Everything appeared to be in order."

He said the PSC is the state agency that issues teacher certification.

"There has been no reason in the past for us to question the PSC," Scott said.

Six of the 11 teachers who reportedly bought the online degrees have resigned.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.