HISD employees reassigned after investigation

January 22, 2010 9:50:30 PM PST
We have new developments and fallout over allegations of cheating on the TAKS test, and misuse of funds at Key Middle School in HISD. Workers are being moved after an investigation into missing computers, and more than 100 people are missing out on performance bonuses.

When Kori Keaton heard she was not getting a bonus this year, she not only thought of herself.

"That's my time away from my kids, that's me coming to work sick ,that's me not taking kids to the doctor, my husband having to take off work to do that," said Keaton.

She thought of her students whose performance is now in question.

"They earned it and they worked hard," said Keaton.

HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier made the announcement on Thursday. His decision he said was based on allegations there was cheating on last year's TAKS test.

"It makes me very sad and angry that a small number of adults can set such a bad example for our students," said Dr. Grier.

We've learned that means some 105 employees, according to the district, won't get bonus pay. That includes everyone from the principal and teachers to even the custodial staff.

"You don't treat this person differently from another person, that's why it hurts," said teacher Sylveria Oju.

The cheating allegations are just part of the problems facing Key. There have also been claims of equipment improperly removed, misuse of funds and abuse of federal lunch rules.

So far, seven employees have been reassigned over the allegations and one employee fired. The teachers union calls it all a witch hunt.

"Why don't you believe that this school can perform?" said Gayle Fallon of the Houston Federation of Teachers. For Keaton, losing her bonus is one thing, but her real concern is for her students.

"I want my students to know that I'm so proud of them and they earned everything that they got," said Keaton.

Of the employees that were reassigned or terminated, one was from Key Middle School, one was from the North Region office and six from Kashmere High School. We're told the reassigned employees were transferred to non-school offices.

This isn't the first time that HISD has looked into possible cheating at Key Middle School. Back in 2005, a teacher was fired following a four-month investigation into those allegations.