Posted: Mar 2, 2013 2:32 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2013 2:32 PM
EL PASO, Texas (AP) El Paso Independent School District officials have received a draft of an audit investigating how a broad cheating scam that led to the imprisonment of the ex-superintendent occurred.
The El Paso Times (http://bit.ly/XxaCEQ) reports the draft was provided to district officials Thursday, but has not been made public.
The Texas Education Agency required the district to pay for an independent review of the weaknesses in the system that caused the scandal. In addition to the imprisonment of ex-superintendent Lorenzo Garcia, several officials have resigned, or been forced to leave, since the scam was uncovered. Lorenzo was sentenced to 3 years in prison for organizing the scheme that forced students to drop out so they wouldn't take accountability exams.
District spokeswoman Renee de Santos says the "privileged and confidential unsigned draft report" has been given to the district's attorneys. The public accounting firm Weaver and Tidwell is still working on the final draft, she said, but did not elaborate on what additional work was needed to complete the report.
The preliminary report was given to the school board, the district's lawyer and interim Superintendent Vernon Butler, De Santos said. After the document is reviewed "appropriate actions will be taken," she said.
The Texas Education Agency, however, has not received a copy of the draft, said Gena Acuna, an agency spokeswoman.
The district paid nearly $800,000 for the report. Trustee David Dodge said he received a copy late Thursday, but had not read it as of Friday.
"It just appeared to me to be a big document," Dodge said.
The former superintendent apparently asked that internal audits be kept in draft form so they would not be subject to open records request and wouldn't have to be made public, Robert Almanzan, the associate superintendent for human resources, said at a school board meeting in January.
The El Paso Times reports that an audit into allegations of grade tampering and other improprieties at one of the high schools was kept in draft form for at least eight months.
The scandal has had sweeping repercussions. The Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams appointed a conservator and five managers to replace the school board. Trustees appealed that move to the TEA, but it backed Williams in a decision Thursday. The U.S. Department of Justice has to approve the decision as well.
Information from: El Paso Times, http://www.elpasotimes.com