By JESSAMY BROWN
Posted on Fri, Oct. 17, 2008
SOUTHLAKE — State officials have ended a disciplinary inquiry into the actions of a former Carroll elementary school principal and found no violations.
But Andra Barton still could face sanctions against her educator’s certification.
The Texas Education Agency’s certification and standards division told Barton on Oct. 10 that it had closed its case stemming from an investigation of concerns over special-education law, student records management and testing procedures at Old Union Elementary School.
The state is still looking into whether Barton violated the state’s ethics code, TEA spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe said.
Barton, who was put on paid administrative leave in March, said Wednesday that she resigned in April under pressure from the Carroll administration. She has denied wrongdoing.
Barton, who worked for Carroll for 12 years, said she hopes to work as a principal again.
A mother of two, Barton said she has been volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County and is beginning an adult literacy class there this week. She is also volunteering with Make a Wish Foundation and helping teach graduate students at Texas Christian University.
"It has been a hard six months," said Barton, of Keller. "Hopefully I’ll be afforded the opportunity to be a principal again, and if so I would absolutely welcome that with open arms. And if not, how fortunate I am that I was able to do the job that I truly loved for half my career."
An investigation by the school district’s law firm found testing-procedure violations, misuse of restraining holds on children and a hostile work environment at Old Union Elementary School. The school district took its findings to the Texas Education Agency.
The school district has implemented a corrective-action plan to address the problems.
The Texas Education Agency and the Carroll school district referred allegations of records tampering to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office in May.
The district attorney’s office has closed its file on the case after being notified that the school district did not want to go forward, Joe Shannon, chief of the economic crimes unit, said this week.
Carroll school officials said Tuesday that the district never intended to pursue criminal charges. State officials told Carroll that they were obligated to notify law enforcement authorities if they believed that documents had been tampered with.
This week, Old Union Elementary did not meet adequate yearly progress standards under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott had notified school officials of the designation in July. He said the designation was due to the documented violations and to parallel its state designation of the "not rated: data integrity issues" rating under the Texas accountability system. Scott said the school would have otherwise earned an exemplary rating.
JESSAMY BROWN, 817-685-3876