Federal judge imprisons former Texas school district superintendent for test fraud

[JURIST] The US District Court for the Western District of Texas on Friday sentenced the ex-superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) [official websites] to three and a half years in prison for manipulating state standardized test scores by removing low-performing students from classrooms. Judge David Briones sentenced former EPISD superintendent Lorenzo Garcia to 42 months in prison and ordered Garcia to pay $236,500 in restitution and fines. Garcia pleaded guilty in June to two counts of fraud for conspiring to inflate the district's standardized test scores [AP report] by excluding hundreds of high school sophomores from taking the tests. Several EPISD employees expressed dissatisfaction with Garcia's sentence [El Paso Times report], saying the court should have given him a harsher sentence for defrauding the state and depriving students of educational opportunities. Six other people allegedly helped Garcia organize the testing scheme.

The EPISD cheating scandal [El Paso Times backgrounder] has engendered a great deal of legal controversy in recent years. Earlier this week former Texas state senator Eliot Shapleigh [official website] argued [El Paso Times report] that Garcia should receive a harsher prison sentence than 42 months. In June it was revealed that Garcia received $54,000 in bonuses [El Paso Times report] for inflating the test scores of the EPISD. Earlier in June Garcia pleaded guilty to fraud [plea, PDF; El Paso Times report] relating to preventing students from taking standardized tests.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.