Krum ISD

Parents and students will get their first look Thursday night at the results of a policy audit regarding grading practices in Krum ISD.

The Krum school board has called a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss an investigation into its grading policies conducted by the Region 11 Education Services Center. Instead of the board’s usual meeting place at the district administration building, the meeting will be in the Krum High School Performing Arts Center, 700-B Bobcat Blvd.

School officials called for an independent investigation earlier this month following allegations of improper grade-point average changes that benefited relatives of school board members and administrators. Region 11 spokeswoman Lori Burton said the agency is asked to perform audits periodically.

“It’s a positive thing because it allows the district to show stakeholders that they’re supporting an unbiased review,” she said.

Employees in Region 11’s management and information services department oversaw the investigation, but Burton stressed the inquiry was a “fact-finding” mission with a limited scope. Investigators looked at Krum’s district policy and student handbook as well as how grades were calculated in software programs. No people were examined in the process, she said.

“We’re strictly pulling together facts,” she said. “We’re not involved in any determination of wrongdoing or any next steps.”

The school board could take possible action Thursday night based on the results of the investigation. In a letter announcing the investigation on Oct. 15, the district pledged to act if any malpractice was detected.

“KISD takes its reputation for integrity and honesty seriously, and will take whatever steps are necessary to maintain and protect its reputation, including, but not limited to, actions against anyone who would dishonor our institution by violating our rules or policies,” the letter read.

The controversy turned from town whispers to a scandal when Krum Mayor Ron Harris addressed the issue in a public forum at an Oct. 10 board meeting and implored members to launch an independent investigation.

A week later, the school board ousted Krum High School Assistant Principal Bernard Lightfoot by unanimously voting to approve a voluntary separation agreement. Supporters of Lightfoot believe he was pushed out because he tried to help a student whose class ranking dropped dramatically when grade weights were changed over the summer. The district denied those claims and said the issues were unrelated but declined to comment further.

The separation agreement signed by Lightfoot and the district includes a “no retaliation or disparagement” clause that prohibits Lightfoot from speaking about his resignation. If asked, he is only permitted to say, “The situation was resolved to the parties’ mutual satisfaction, and I am not permitted to comment further.”

CAITLYN JONES can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @CjonesDRC.

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