EPISD Board of Trustees reacts to Garcia's sentence
El Paso Independent School District Board President Isela Castanon-Williams says Dr. Lorenzo Garcia's punishment isn't enough. She told ABC-7 this isn't anywhere near the punishment the board had requested for him.
"Garcia's sentence does not rectify the damage that was done to the students in EPISD. The district filed a victim's statement requesting a great deal more money," said Castanon-Williams.
EPISD Board President Isela Castanon-Williams said trustees requested over $400,000 to be paid in restitution. Instead, U.S. District Judge David Briones sentenced Dr. Lorenzo Garcia to repay $180,000, serve 46 months in prison, and pay a $56,500 fine. It's a hard pill for the board to swallow, but Castanon-Williams isn't dwelling on it. She says at least now, the district can move forward.
"We believe that the judge acted in good faith with full knowledge of all the facts," Castanon-Williams said.
"It does close one chapter in this very unfortunate incident and part of EPISD's past," Castanon-Williams said. "And we have to realize that it's not over. There is still an ongoing investigation and there may be more people who will be brought to justice."
The FBI hasn't release the names of 6 to 8 co-conspirators who worked with Garcia to inflate the district's state and federal accountability scores. Not only did Garcia and his minions cheat to make the district look better, but inflated scores helped him cash in on bonuses. But the point is, he isn't the only one inside the web of corruption.
"You don't become superintendent of a school district like this without having accomplished some wonderful things along the way," said defense attorney Jim Darnell. "There were mistakes at the end and he will suffer the consequences, but that doesn't change a life that has been primarily devoted to the good of children and their education."
Garcia's lawyers told ABC-7 the former superintendent admits his mistake. In court, Garcia told the judge: "Your Honor, I would not like to make any comments. As Superintendent I am responsible of all things that occur in the district."
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