Former DISD Administrator Pleads Guilty to Test Fraud in El Paso

Garcia, after his arrest last year.
Back in 2004, just after Superintendent Mike Moses leaped from DISD with his golden parachute, Lorenzo Garcia, the district's chief of instructional services, was a hair's breadth away from becoming interim superintendent. Maybe not a hair's breadth, since the board of trustees voted down his nomination 7 to 1, but he was considered.

The DMN paraphrased trustee Joe May, Garcia's lone supporter, as saying "Garcia represents the aspirations of immigrants and would be a good role model for Hispanic children in the district."

Garcia ended up doing his role modeling instead for the children in El Paso where, on Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud for manipulating TAKS scores in order to secure more federal funding and awarding a $450,000, no-bid contract to one of his lovers during his time as superintendent of El Paso ISD, as reported by the El Paso Times and, in passing the DMN.

From the article:

According to García's plea, he admitted that in order to achieve his contractual performance-based bonuses, he caused "material, fraudulent misrepresentations" of the district's Federal Adequate Yearly Progress reports to be submitted to the Texas Education Agency and the U.S. Department of Education in order to make it look as though the district was meeting and exceeding standards.

He also admitted to manipulating district data by implementing a reclassification program designed to evade 10th-grade testing and accountability requirements during the 2006-07 school year by directing others to reclassify student grade levels using partial course credits. He did so by requiring that all Mexican transfer students be placed in the ninth grade even if they had sufficient credits for the 10th grade, changing passing grades to failing grades to prevent students from taking the 10th-grade TAKS test, and implementing course credit recovery programs to help intentionally held-back students catch up before graduation.

He also admitted to steering a no-bid contract to Infinity Resources, a firm owned by former lover Tracy Rose.

So, despite a past littered with terrible personnel choices, the DISD board made the right call. Far as I can tell, Larry Groppel, whom the board picked over Garcia for the interim slot, has never been the subject of a federal investigation.

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Sooooooo clever. Who would have ever thought of combining a vulgar term for excrement with a common everyday word would result in something so dang funny? Did you coin that one all by yourself? Why, you're a comic and linguistic genius! 

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

The new supe's shake up was cosmetic. He kept Shirley Ison Newsome. All of her minions know she will outlast the new supe.  They will serve her and not the kids.


In the business world certain companies develop a reputation as incubators of talent that create individuals primed for success as they leave to lead other companies. GE, McKinsey, P&G and EBay are a few examples. Then we have DISD's alumni: sitting superintendent went to jail, director of IT went to jail, and now a former director of instruction headed for jail. The new supe's cabinet shake up was not likely enough after decade or more of a management team that would likely light off fireworks if they could attain a grade of mediocre. 3700 Ross needed to be cleaned out down to the nap, ridding the system of so-called managers that became very adept of looking the other way and always being surprised. Let's hope each member of the new cabinet repeats the new supe's process: fire all your direct reports and then have them compete for 50 per cent fewer job slots.

Shakey Ground
Shakey Ground

Wow, if reclassifying grade 10 students to grade 11 was a move to avoid AYP requirements, then DISD is guilty as well. Several of my students were reclassified in February and were promoted to grade 11. When I ask why they suddenly vanish from my grade level roster, our counselor said, downtown, meaning Ross Avenue, or the executive director, ordered all high school principals promote some students in mid year. Please investigate!!!

Teacher in the OC
Teacher in the OC

So that's where we set the bar, eh?  "Has never been the subject of a federal investigation." We're really shooting for the stars around these parts....

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