Students and parents react to San Eli ISD cheating investigation


POSTED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 8:51pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 9:11pm

A former school administrator accused of orchestrating a cheating scheme in the San Elizario School district has been identified.
That investigation revealed that the former two year principal of San Eli High, Antonio Baca manipulated grade placement practices and enrollment over a two year period.

Parents and students on campus for a soccer game were shocked to hear about the alleged cheating scandal that might have affected as many as 50 students.

Francisco Oriz, plays for the San Elizario High School soccer team. He's on the varsity team with high hopes for his future.

"I really do see myself in the future as a soccer player,” said Oriz.

The alleged cheating worries him.

"Probably not be prepared in the future like in college classes, " said Oriz.

Last week, the district announced the former principal from 2008-2010 allegedly manipulated student placement testing and credits.

The alleged signs of cheating were:

- Students were either kept in 9th grade or promoted to 11th to avoid the TAKS test.
- Transcripts were held for a year, so that students were not placed in their appropriate grade.
- If 9th grade students failed English or Algebra, they were kept back.

Maria Gojara, an administrator at another school, says this is becoming too common in the area.

"Cheating is cheating in any aspect, in any form, in any way. The state of TX requires a lot of tests for our students. By doing this, the teachers are not helping the students at all," said Gojara.

San Elizario Superintendent Sylvia Hopp understands some parents are frustrated. She says the state mandated tests could be adding to the pressure that teachers face, but says she knows it's still not an excuse.

"We need to make sure that students are prepared to take whatever test the state requires them to take and we need to be prepared to take the consequences if the students do not do well on the test. The idea of manipulating or whatever happened in the other districts, that's not the answer," said Hopp.

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