Fallon teacher accused of testing violation
FALLON – The Nevada Attorney General’s office is investigating an E.C. Best Elementary School teacher who is accused of helping students on standardized tests last spring.
Tom Sargent, spokesman for the attorney general’s office, wouldn’t provide details about the investigation or when it would be concluded. He said the public will be notified of the outcome of the investigation when it is done.
“If we either drop it or impose sanctions, you’ll hear from us,” he said.
“We don’t confirm or deny an investigation. The Department of Education let it out that they had referred this to us. We don’t comment on them.”
Churchill County Schools Superintendent Donn Livoni said the school district conducted an investigation last year before he was hired to lead the school district.
The results of the local investigation were sent to the Nevada Department of Education, which turned the case over to the attorney general.
“They review our documents and find if there is enough evidence to proceed with discipline at the state level for alleged violations of Nevada Revised Statutes,” Livoni said Wednesday.
He said the employee, who is a male teacher at E.C. Best, has a right to a hearing to answer any allegations before the state takes final action.
A Report of Test Security for the 2002-2003 school year lists E.C. Best Elementary as one of 79 schools in the state where test irregularities occurred. The report said supplemental materials may have been used by students during the testing, and that the teacher allegedly provided answers to students taking the exams.
There are strict laws in Nevada to ensure the security of standardized tests taken in public school. The examination materials must be kept locked up until testing day, and each booklet and answer sheet are numbered and tracked to be sure they are all accounted for.
Livoni said he has not received any update from the attorney general’s office on the progress of the investigation.
He said E.C. Best Principal Scott Meihack and former assistant superintendent Gary Imelli conducted the district’s investigation, which included interviewing students.
“Any time a school district or school is aware of a potential violation, our first responsibility is to investigate, and there is a very short window to do it. With all these high-stakes tests, it’s huge,” he said about test security violations.
Only four cases of alleged violations by teachers in the state were sent to the attorney general for investigation. Other questionable cases involve students cheating, missing test materials, improper test administration and power outages.
“Only a few got to this level,” Livoni said. “Others were erroneous or involved students cheating. There are all different levels of this.”
Livoni said he could not release the teacher’s name because it is a confidential personnel matter.
The superintendent is waiting to see the outcome of the attorney general’s probe to determine if any disciplinary action will be taken by the district. He said sanctions could range from a reprimand to termination if the accusations prove true. Livoni said the collective bargaining agreement and school district policy will be followed when considering the issue.
– With wire reports