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Fri Dec 13, 2013, 12:35 PM

Sentence Cut in Texas for School Official Jailed in Test Scandal

HOUSTON — The former superintendent of an El Paso school district who was sent to prison in one of the country’s worst education scandals has received an unexpected reward — a nearly one-year reduction in his prison term.

A recent decision by the federal Bureau of Prisons to take 11 months off the sentence of the former superintendent, Lorenzo Garcia, has angered educators, parents and lawmakers in El Paso and has drawn attention to the obscure drug counseling program that has become a popular way for white-collar criminals to reduce their prison time.

Mr. Garcia, 58, had been scheduled for release in October 2015 after being sentenced to three years and six months. But prison officials shortened his sentence and moved up his release date to November 2014 after Mr. Garcia completed a drug counseling program while in federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa.

Mr. Garcia, who once led the El Paso Independent School District, pleaded guilty last year to his role in a scheme to inflate test scores in struggling schools by preventing low-performing students from taking the exams, as a way to improve school performance under the federal No Child Left Behind law.



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