Unheeded Warnings: Timeline

A timeline of the El Paso Independent School District cheating scheme, based on El Paso Times research.

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  1. •October 2009: Former Bowie High School counselor Patricia Scott provides 77 transcripts that document possible cheating to her boss, Kathleen Ortega, who according to El Paso Independent School District officials stores the transcripts away in a drawer.

  2. •January 7, 2010: Then-state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh meets with then-Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia, school board members Isela Castañon-Williams and Lisa Conquitt-Munoz, EPISD Chief of Staff Terri Jordan and then- Associate Superintendent for Secondary and Priority Schools Damon Murphy about his belief that the district was “disappearing” students at Bowie High to raise scores on the state-mandated accountability test and avoid federal sanctions.

  3. •May 18, 2010: Shapleigh mails a letter to Garcia accusing him of “disappearing” low-performing students who started as freshman in 2007 by deporting them, transferring them, sending them to charter schools or failing them to prevent them from taking the sophomore test that counted toward federal accountability.

  4. •May 19, 2010: Shapleigh goes to the press with his allegations and sends a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Ray Glynn, a deputy commissioner at TEA, calls Garcia on his cell phone.

  5. •May 2010: Shapleigh and the media try to contact Scott about possible cheating at Bowie High. Scott never returns those phone calls but tells Ortega of the calls.
  6. •June 4, 2010: James Anderson, assistant superintendent of high schools for EPISD,  meets Ortega and Scott to discuss Scott’s concerns about receiving calls from Shapleigh and the media. Anderson said he told Garcia about his meeting with the two women. He says he also told Terri Jordan around this time.

  7. •June 8, 2010Anderson and Garcia approach Scott at Jefferson High School graduation. Anderson says they tell Scott that she will be protected from retaliation if she reports wrongdoing. Scott tells them that she gave 77 transcripts that showed grade manipulations to Ortega in October 2009. Anderson says that is when he learned that Ortega had stowed away the transcripts and not reported them to administrators. He said he later picks up transcripts and examines them.

  8. •June 11, 2010: Anderson says he meets with Bowie High Principal Jesus Chavez and asks him to explain the grade changes and grade manipulations at the campus. He said he then tells Garcia and Jordan that he wants and external audit of the transcript irregularities but they say that the investigation will be conducted internally. Anderson says he tells Garcia and Jordan that he wants to report the irregularities to TEA.
  9. •June 14, 2010: Anderson says he calls EPISD employee Brenda Booth to get a phone number for someone at TEA. Anderson calls Cathy Kline, the director of test administration for the Texas Education Agency.

  10. •June 15, 2010: Anderson calls Kline again. Glynn calls Anderson and the district office of state Rep. Inocente “Chente” Quintanilla.

  11. •June 18, 2010: Anderson says he gets a phone call from Emi Johnson, TEA’s inspector general. He says he asks Johnson to conduct an external audit into transcript irregularities at Bowie High but she declines his request. In a separate conversation, Johnson tells Anderson that Commissioner Robert Scott also declined his request for an external audit. Johnson and Garcia also speak several times.

  12. •June 21, 2010: Anderson says Johnson, Glynn and Ryan Franklin from TEA approve in a conference call a rubric the district had laid out for conducting the internal audit.

  13. •June 24, 2010: Shapleigh submits a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education with allegations that EPISD was “disappearing” students at EPISD.
  14. •June 30, 2010: The U.S. Department of Education asks TEA to investigate Shapleighs complaint.

  15. •Late June 2010: EPISD internal auditor Joe Yañez begins interviews into the transcript alteration allegations.

  16. •July 20, 2010: Shapleigh submits an additional complain to TEA that broadens the scope of his concerns beyond Bowie High School.

  17. •Aug. 2, 2010: Yañez completes the first draft of his internal audit.

  18. •Sept. 20 and October 8, 2010: Texas Education Agency clears EPISD of Shapleigh's allegations of cheating. 

  19. •December 2010: The U.S. Department of Education and FBI begin investigations into Shapleigh's allegations.