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Report: TEA investigating Tuloso-Midway ISD for grade tampering

Report: Tuloso-Midway ISD under investigation for grade tampering
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Posted at 4:33 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 07:17:51-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Editor's Note: Some content is shared through a partnership with The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. For the complete story visit caller.com

Four students, including the child or children of a Tuloso-Midway ISD board trustee, received an unfair advantage in a "non-district PE course" that wasn't available to the rest of the district's student body, according to a local media report.

The report led to a packed house at the TMISD school board's regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night.

“The right side should never be looking for an advantage if it’s only self-serving," a TMISD parent said during the public comment period. "Just because it’s the way things have been done, does not mean it’s the right way.”

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports the Texas Education Agency is conducting a Special Accreditation Investigation into TMISD. The news was released while the district has announced the paid administrative lead of TM Superintendent Rick Fernandez.

The four-page report was sent to Fernandez and TM board president Paul Mostella on July 12, the Caller-Times reports.

One person spoke out in favor of Fernandez Tuesday night hoping the school board would allow him to stay with the district.

“He’s trying to make positive changes, and I ask you to reconsider your stand and let him do his job,” the TMISD teacher and parent said.

The outside physical education course had been allowed in previous years. It is the course in which children of a board trustee and the child of a close family friend earned valedictorian ranking.

The TEA report states that a teacher informed the superintendent of an unauthorized grade change that impacted her students. An investigation showed that 1,200 grades were changed without proper authorization in Fall 2020.

TMISD School Board Meeting and President

The district's salutatorian for the 2019-2020 school year says the tampering cost her the valedictorian position, and there needs to be changes.

“I want to make sure this administration as well as this board and this entire district changes for the better so it doesn’t affect other kids how they affected me,” Jennifer Xac said.

But a member of the school district's counselors office spoke in defense of the school board.

“As someone who knows and who has dealt with grades and grade changes, there is absolutely unequivocally no way a board member can tamper with grades," she said.

The TEA has started an investigation that will include information from a variety of sources, according to the report.