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SISD will launch precautionary school audit

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POSTED: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 8:48pm

UPDATED: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 8:23pm

Socorro ISD says it will conduct an audit of grade placement practices in the district.

This was announced just days after San Elizario ISD accused former principal Antonio Baca of manipulating grades and enrollment at San Eli High School from 2008 to 2011. Turns out, Baca also used to work in the Socorro District for 23 years, from 1985 to 2008.

“It kinda raised a little red flag, was he conducting those practices here," said current SISD Superintendent Jose Espinoza.

Espinoza says nothing has been brought to his attention.

“At this point in time not one single allegation has come forward about any employee, about any school or the entire school district," said Espinoza.

Next Tuesday, the school board will decide to launch their own audit of the school grading and placement policies, something planned as a precaution before any San Eli cheating allegations had surfaced.

Espinoza has only been with the district for six months, but says he's seen and heard of similar situations in school districts all over the country..

"In no way, shape or form should anyone feel the pressure to cut corners to ensure that a child get a score that he or she needs to get so that the teacher can look good or the administrators," said Espinoza.

The Texas Education Agency says it has not received any audit requests or word of any other cheating scandals anywhere else in the state, except El Paso, over the past year. There are roughly 1200 school districts in Texas.

“It's a wakeup call to any district that might be contemplating or considering not exactly providing the correct data. We're not going to tolerate this kind of thing and we will take whatever actions are necessary to make sure districts don't break the law,” said TEA spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson.

The TEA says it has no plans to conduct any other investigations or audits in El Paso County.  The agency urges parents, teachers and students to come forward if they feel a school is not following an ethical policy.

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