POSTED: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 5:43pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 5:18pm
EL PASO- EPISD Superintendent pleaded not guilty today to charges of mail fraud and embezzlement. The President of the El Paso Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel told NewsChannel 9 what EPISD plans for the future.
The severity of the allegations against Garcia has many people shocked, including the president of the El Paso Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel.
“I started receiving phone calls, ‘have you heard, have you heard'," says Lucy Clarke.
Lucy Clarke is the president of the El Paso Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel. Since the arrest of EPISD Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia, she says she's been getting flooded with phone calls from worried teachers.
“When there isn't someone at the top, at the helm, there's always a feeling of insecurity,” says Clarke.
And Clarke admits she, too, is in shock.
“They are serious charges,” says Clarke.
The charges are one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and one count of aiding and abetting theft from programs receiving federal funds. These allegations come at a crucial time for the district, back-to-school season. Clarke says she's confident, though, that when teachers report to their schools August 16th, they'll focus on the task at hand.
“They'll find that their schools are in let's get to work mode, and they will do that,” says Clarke.
In the meantime, Chief of Staff and second-in-command, Dr. Terri Jordan will be in charge.
EPISD's website shows Jordan took over that role a year ago, but she's been with the district since 1986, working as a teacher, principal, and most recently, Associate Superintendent of Secondary Schools.
“She knows everything that needs to be done. I have no doubt that she will get it done,” says Clarke.
So even with a superintendent under indictment, Clarke says parents do not need to panic, as long as the problems don't come close to the classroom.
“Teachers and school employees have become the scapegoat for problems in education and we have such dedicated teachers,” says Clarke.