Timeline of EPISD cheating scandal
A timeline of the cheating scandal at the El Paso Independent School District. The timeline is based on documents obtained by the El Paso Times under the Texas Public Information Act, and other research.
- Feb. 1, 2006: García takes the helm of the El Paso Independent School District.
- April 27, 2006: García announces that he plans to create a new position of associate superintendent for priority schools for those campuses rated academically unacceptable by the state or that have missed the federal Annual Yearly Progress outlined by the federal government.
- May 25, 2006: Damon Murphy, who worked with García at Houston's Spring Branch ISD, is named the new associate superintendent of priority schools. García says Murphy will oversee a team of directors who will work with teachers and administrators at the academically unacceptable schools in the district.
- Oct. 10, 2006: Board of Trustees selects Joe Yañez as director of internal audit.
- July 18, 2007: Yañez begins providing audit updates to the superintendent and the school board.
- October 2009: Former Bowie High School counselor Patricia Scott provides 77 transcripts that document possible cheating to her boss, Kathleen Ortega, who according to district officials stores the transcripts away in a drawer until Scott again brings up the issue in May 2010.
- Spring 2008: García and Murphy ordered two administrators and a team of truant officers to photograph students who were crossing over from Juárez in hopes of identifying those who did not belong at South Side campuses, primarily Bowie and Jefferson high schools, according to a September 2012 interview with then-Pupil Services Director Mark Mendoza.
- May 2010: Then-state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh alleges that the El Paso Independent School District is “disappearing” students to raise scores on the state-mandated accountability test and avoid federal sanctions. District officials claim they do not learn of Scott's concerns until this month.
- June 22, 2010: Starting about 10 a.m., Yañez begins internal audit interviews into former Bowie counselor Scott's concerns of possible cheating at Bowie. In 2012, school board President Isela Castanon-Williams says trustees ordered an investigation into Scott's allegations that evening during a closed-door meeting with then-Superintendent Lorenzo García. Yañez's periodic written reports to the school board and superintendent never appear to even mention this audit.
- June 24, 2010: García has a news conference and rally at Coronado High School to dispute Shapleigh's allegations of cheating. García says Shapleigh is distorting facts and hurting children.
"The schools that the senator called out have many students, and they go out of their way every day to achieve success," García said at a news conference filled with students who carried signs. "The senator bypassed our policies and all of our protocols. ... Instead he took our success rates and distorted the information."
- Aug. 2, 2010: Interviews for the Scott audit end. Yañez submits a draft report on Bowie findings. At least 15 employees were interviewed for the audit.
- Sept. 7, 2010: Bowie Principal Jesus Chavez is given written reprimands based on the audit of Scott's allegations and a separate audit into allegations that Bowie was violating state law when removing students from classrooms for disciplinary reasons. It's unclear when the discipline audit began and ended.
- Sept. 21, 2010: An internal audit update from Yañez to García and the board mentions the Bowie discipline audit. It states “we conducted a review for 2009-10 as authorized by Dr. García to ensure compliance with Chapter 37 for student due process as it relates to discipline hearings at Bowie High. The draft report was discussed with Dr. García and issued to James Anderson for his review. We created binders of supporting documentation for the school division and principal to take corrective action.” The report, which covers the internal auditor's activity in August, contains no mention of the Scott audit, although Yañez wrote his first draft of that audit report in early August.
- Oct. 14, 2010: Texas Education Agency clears EPISD of Shapleigh's allegations of cheating.
"There is no indication that one or more Bowie High School students were prevented the opportunity to attend school and participate in the statewide testing," said Emi Johnson, the education agency's inspector general. "This investigation report does not find areas of non-compliance with (federal) requirements associated with adequate yearly progress at Bowie."
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