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Manziel family hires El Paso atty with NCAA experience
By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas - Region 19 responded to allegations that it taught school districts how to cheat and manipulate test scores.
This comes after a former superintendent for Socorro ISD blamed Region 19 for the recent audit of the SISD, which revealed it was embroiled in similar cheating tactics as EPISD, including preventing students from taking federal accountability measures.
"That's par for her; I mean I'm not surprised," said Dr. Jimmy Vasquez, executive director of Region 19, expressing he's not surprised by the accusations from former superintendent Sylvia Atkinson.
"She created quite a bit of chaos in that school district; matter of fact I suspect that it led to the losing of a bond issue because of the community's perception of her leadership. So years later she is coming back trying to paint everybody with the same brush to cover up what she did or failed to do," said Vasquez.
According to our media partner, the El Paso Times, one of the SISD policies that helped prohibit students from Mexico and English language learners from taking the federal accountability standards took effect in 2007 when Atkinson started her tenure.
After just one year, Atkinson left.
She told the Times the regulations were directives from Region 19 and Region 1.
"As far as Region 19 or Region 1 or any region doing any kind of training, not at all," said Vasquez.
Atkinson told the Times, "I think part of the local policy said the district had the option to provide additional safeguards for students to be more successful. Holding credits in escrow was like holding a banking credit for the year to allow for a smoother transition for the student."
KFOX14 asked Vasquez if there was anything in the training that Region 19 provides that would give credence to Atkinson saying there was some type of manipulation.
Vasquez said absolutely not and that as a service center and state agency, Region 19 has no regulatory authority.
"We cannot tell districts what to do or what not to do," said Vasquez.
He said they have no control over policies, that those decisions are left for the school boards.
Vasquez denied Region 19 would ever have given any type of tool or training on how to manipulate course credits or shuffle students.
"None whatsoever, that's so far from the truth because that's not our role," said Vasquez.
The Texas Education Association said through its investigations it believes some districts misinterpreted a policy from the Texas Association that districts can adopt.