A Harris County grand jury today indicted two former Houston school system administrators on felony charges in connection with accusations that they altered school records to falsely lower reported dropout rates, the local prosecutor said.
Delores Westmoreland was indicted on three counts and Peggy Collins was indicted on two counts of tampering with a government record, according to a statement released today by Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos’ office.
The second-degree felony charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“Today, Key and Kashmere are operating under new leadership and HISD is committed to ensuring the continued academic success of students in these schools,” the Houston school district said in a press statement this evening. Both women were fired in 2010, the statement said.
The statement by Lykos’ office, issued around 5 p.m., said bail for Westmoreland had been set at $30,000, and for Collins at $20,000. The statement did not say when the two women were arrested or by which law enforcement agency, nor did it say where the two women were jailed. Neither Westmoreland nor Collins’ names appeared in the real-time searchable online inmate lists on either the Houston City Jail or Harris County Jail’s web sites at 7 p.m. this evening. Two deputies at the Harris County Jail could not say whether the two women remained in custody.
Phone calls and an e-mail to Donna Hawkins, the district attorney’s spokeswoman, were not immediately returned.
“We informed (the) DA,” then-HISD spokesman Norm Uhl wrote in an e-mail at the time. “(We) turned our report over to them when it was complete on April 19, (2010).”
An HISD investigation in 2010 found Key Middle and Kashmere High School employees moving computers and other equipment in and out of the buildings and at times into vehicles.
The law firm Martin Disiere Jefferson & Wisdom, hired by the school district to investigate the problems at Key, found multiple instances of price gouging students on snacks, unauthorized fundraisers aimed and thousands of dollars of missing equipment.
As a result, HISD officials fired six employees, including former Key Principal Mable Caleb.
Photo by flickr user petercastleton, used under a Creative Commons license.
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This report was written by Mike Cronin and first appeared at Texas Watchdog on 2/24/12. It is being used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.