PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- A Charlotte County teacher accused of selling grades to students has resigned, according to district officials.
In a one-sentence letter to supervisors, dated November 2, Charlotte High School teacher Jeff Spires tells them he plans to leave his job, writing, "Effective October 28, 2011, I resign my position as math teacher at Charlotte High School."
Accusations that Spires was trading good grades for cash first surfaced last month.
Barbara Melanson, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, says the district immediately put him on paid leave. She says once an investigation showed evidence to support the rumors, he was put on unpaid leave. Shortly after, he resigned.
According to Melanson, an investigator spoke with students and Spires, who confessed to taking $5-10 for each favorable quiz grade. She says he had worked with at least two students.
"To make such an error in judgment, and to go against your ethical promises, your standing with the students and do something like that is very disappointing, very disheartening," Melanson says.
For some parents, who know the long-time Charlotte teacher, the accusations are still shocking.
Torina Mobley-Prince says Spires once helped her son study for the SAT.
"He cares for the kids as if they were his kids, and I don't believe the allegations that they put out," Mobley-Prince says. "I don't feel like any teacher at that school would jeopardize their job just for a student."
The school board is expected to approve Spires's resignation Tuesday. After that, Melanson says the state's Office of Professional Practices will take the case and decide if Spires will keep his teaching license.
Spires had been with the Charlotte County School system since 2002.