CSAP test score tampering upsets parents, principal fired
DENVER — Parents just learned the long-time principal at their Denver elementary school is gone.
The Denver Public School District fired him Wednesday because of results of a state investigation into cheating at his school.
The investigation found principal Frank Roti altered CSAP test answers in 2010 and 2011. And it will cost him more than his job.
The district says Roti must repay $30,000 in incentive pay he received over two years.
A cloud of suspicion hanging over Beach Court Elementary for weeks.
Parents are now getting answers. “The community is furious,” says parent Nicole Vigil.
But for some parents, it’s not the answer they wanted to hear.
“There was wrongdoing. There was alteration of students answers on state assessment, by one individual, at one school,” says DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg.
That individual, he says, is Roti.
Boasberg says he changed thousands of student test answers. “There was a very extensive and very serious number of incorrect answers from student test booklets that were erased and changed to correct answers,” he says.
“When he left I was pretty sad about it,” says preschooler Vince Vigil, about Roti.
Students and parents can’t believe the outcome and resulting firing.
“They are saying there have been thousands and thousands and thousands of erased answers. And for all of us in this community, it’s offensive and very hard to believe,” says Vince’s mom, Nicole.
“I’ve had five of my kids come to this school and it was mainly because he was such a good principal. And he would do anything for our kids. To find out he was doing this, it’s sad. At the same time, what if he was just trying to help our kids,” says mother Felecia Garcia.
The investigation also focused on Hallett Fundamental Academy. The report found no conclusive proof of wrongdoing. But the report says some teachers retracted incriminating comments about erasing marks on tests.
The report says, “We believe that the two teachers and the Administrative staff member may have attempted to mislead our interviewers.” The administrator is not the school’s principal.
“Integrity is an absolute core value of DPS and I think absolutely any questions about that, that’s a serious concern,” says Boasberg.
Back at Beach Court, some parents say they won’t bring their kids back next year.
Some too stunned to understand how a man they say helped their children may have also inadvertently hurt them.
“My son started off in 5th grade and the kids were bullying him because of his shoes. Mr. Roti went out of his way to help me get a pair of shoes for my son,” says mother Lori Sanchez.
“He was just like the father of the school. So, it’s just really sad,” says Garcia.
The district says the CSAP test scores for 2010 and 2011 have been invalidated.
And for parents, it may be difficult to determine how well their child is doing in school, since their test scores are null and void.