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Questions Remain About Accomplices In EPISD Test Score Scandal

Questions remain about whether rule-breakers are still working in the El Paso Independent School District in the wake of a plea deal struck by the district’s former superintendent.

Dr. Lorenzo Garcia, who resigned from his position as superintendent late last year, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy involving mail and wire fraud in federal court Wednesday.

Garcia admitted to cheating EPISD out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2006 by steering an overpriced contract with the district to a girlfriend’s company.

In an unrelated charge, Garcia also admitted to taking part in a scheme to fake improvements on state test scores which earned him bonuses.

Court documents reveal Garcia acknowledged working with 6 co-conspirators. The co-conspirators are unnamed and unindicted.

ABC-7 spoke with the head of the El Paso Teacher’s Association, who said district employees want to know who the co-conspirators are, whether they are still working for the district and why action against them has not been taken sooner.

EPISD’s interim superintendent Dr. Terri Jordan would only agree to address ABC-7’s camera if media promised not to ask her questions.

“I’d just like to make a statement. The district has and will continue to work with the investigating authorities. This has been a difficult time for our district and we appreciate very much our community’s patience as we continue to work with these authorites in their ongoing investigation,” said Jordan.

The district was not always so tight-lipped. In April, district leaders held a news conference admitting a grade altering scandal had been happening within the district. Jordan named two current administrators and one former administrator.

Former Bowie High School principal Jesus Chavez was removed last month from his position after allegations of forging documents and student success rates.

Chavez was hired in April 2008.

Myrna Gamboa was also removed from her position as director of secondary schools for EPISD.

Canutillo Independent School District Superintendent, Damon Murphy has also come under question.

In April, a federal investigation of EPISD revealed that a 4-year-old email from Murphy’s account appeared to encourage grade manipulation while he was an associate superintendent at EPISD.

Murphy maintains he did nothing wrong.

It is unclear whether the three people implicated by EPISD in April are some of the six unnamed, unindicted co-conspirators in the Garcia case.

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