TEA Commissioner Wants To Audit The Agency's Investigative Functions

Friday, November 30, 2012 - 11:13pm

It's the story that made national headlines. A superintendent in El Paso found guilty of robbing countless students of an education. Lorenzo Garcia was sentenced to 3.5 years in federal prison for his crimes. But many continue to ask, "How did he get away with it for so long?" After all, the Texas Education Agency had audited EPISD several times before but never caught on to Garcia.

"We need to make sure that that agency has the resources and the capacity to conduct investigations that are appropriate so that another tragedy like the one that has occurred at EPISD does not occur in any other school district," says EPISD Board President, Isela Castañon-Williams.

Michael Williams, the Commissioner of Texas' Education Agency, has decided to check into why the TEA's initial investigations of EPISD did not turn up any findings. He wrote a letter to the State Auditor's Office yesterday, asking them to help look into this case.

"What the letter represents is Commissioner Williams living up to a commitment he made when he was in El Paso in October.. And that was to listen to the community, to the members of the community as to their concerns regarding El Paso ISD," says TEA spokesperson Gene Acuña. 

Unfortunately, the State Auditor's Office told Commissioner Williams they can't get started on the EPISD request until 2014. Spokesperson Acuña says Commissioner Williams will not wait that long to get answers, and is already looking for other auditing companies that can handle the investigation right away.

"Commissioner just wants to make sure that if there's improvements in the process, that we can make, and recommendations that can strengthen our investigative procedures for the future, that we do that," says Acuña.

NewsChannel 9 spoke to students at El Paso High School today and asked them how they would feel if they were affected by the cheating scandal.

"I would feel embarrassed if they changed my grades for no reason. I'm working so hard to getting my grades where they are now and it's just not right," said Pascual Garcia.

"My future depends on my education. And I want to get a good education so I can get a good future. That way, I'll have a good life," said Alfredo Ansalmo.

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