in Houston, Texas
HISD forwarded Key Middle School investigation to DA
Friday, Sep 10, 2010, 04:56PM CST
By Lynn Walsh

The Houston Independent School District forwarded an investigation of a Houston middle school to the Harris County District Attorney’s office in the spring, a district spokesman said Friday, but so far has not heard whether the DA will pursue any case.

The report details allegations of testing improprieties and missing assets from Key Middle School.

“We informed (the) DA,” HISD spokesman Norm Uhl said via e-mail. “(We) turned our report over to them when it was complete on April 19.”

In early April, Grier said the DA had not requested a copy of the report when asked whether he planned to forward it to them. But the DA’s office said complaints and cases the office investigates begin with someone bringing the issue to them, not the other way around.

Key Middle School surveillance video


Texas Watchdog learned of the Key Middle School investigation being submitted to the DA’s office while reporting on the recent sentencing of former HISD accounting coordinator Lydia M. Kinchen, who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $100,000 from the Houston district and taxpayers.

In January HISD Superintendent Terry Grier held a press conference to announce HISD was going to investigate Key Middle School. An anonymous tip led district officials to examine surveillance video from both Key and Kashmere High School, according to HISD. The surveillance video showed people moving computers and other equipment in and out of the buildings and at times into vehicles.

HISD hired the law firm Martin Disiere Jefferson & Wisdom to conduct a private investigation at Key, which found multiple examples of price gouging students on snacks, unauthorized fundraisers aimed at students and thousands of dollars of missing equipment. HISD fired six of the employees accused of wrongdoing, including former Key Principle Mable Caleb, at an April board meeting.

Contact Lynn Walsh at 713-228-2850 or lynn@texaswatchdog.org. On Twitter: @lwalsh.

Photo from HISD surveillance video at Key Middle School that district officials examined in their investigation of missing equipment and other improprieties.

Comments
Gayle Fallon
Sunday, 09/12/2010 - 08:56AM

HISD publicly maligned a number of teachers and teacher aides in these very public investigations. They even fired a number of them. They took their highly touted investigation to a series of TEA hearing officers when the employees appealed their terminations. The bottom line that no one seems to be interested in reporting is that HISD LOST THE TERMINATION HEARINGS AGAINST ALL BUT ONE OF THE KEY TEACHERS! The investigation did not stand up to TEA scrutiny when HISD actually had to produce real evidence. The one teacher who was terminated was let go for reasons not arising from the investigation. It would be nice to see the exoneration of the teachers and the aides done as publicly as the allegations. Also, it would be interesting to see a breakdown of what HISD paid for the investigators and the law firm that did the investigation, the legal bills arising from the investigation, and the cost of the lost time while these innocent employees sat in HISD's time out corner when they could have been in a classroom.

Concerned Citizen
Monday, 09/13/2010 - 09:00AM

The issue that i have with Ms. Fallon and the rest of these teacher unions is that they always want to defend horrible teachers. Put your own child in one of their classes if you're so confident they're great. For too long, HISD has let these bad teachers ruin the lives of kids. When will it stop and we stop protecting the wrong teachers.

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