District News Roundup

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Two South Korean citizens living in the New York City area on student visas have been arrested for their role in a sophisticated plot to hire impersonators to take English-proficiency and college-admissions tests for Asian students.

Jin Hyeng Park, 31, and Wan Gi Jang, 27, were each charged in federal court last week with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The two men ran the Total Test Center in Manhattan, an agency that purported to provide coaching for various language, admissions, and professional tests, according to Ray Nicosia, a spokesman for the Educational Testing Service.

Most of the impostors, who were paid $300 per test, took the E.T.S. Test of English as a Foreign Language, which colleges and universities use to assess English proficiency.

The Total Test Center allegedly charged students about $4,000 to $5,000 to have an impersonator take the test for them, according to an E.T.S. statement.

In a Nov. 20 raid at several New York City TOEFL test-taking sites, federal agents detained the two men, one of whom was taking a test, and five other test-takers who were later released.

Crumbling Schools: San Francisco's public schools need $326 million in major repairs, nearly a third of which are critical to the health and safety of students, according to a district analysis.

In developing a capital-assets management plan, district officials have identified more than 1,800 major repairs, including broken plumbing and exposed wiring, that are needed at the district's 131 schools and children's centers.

Susan Shipley, the district's director of facilities management, said state and local sources have provided $104 million for the most urgent repairs. The district is considering a bond measure to pay for the rest.

Ruling on School Authority: A Chelan County, Wash., court commissioner has ruled that school officials have authority over students off school grounds if they have a "reasonable belief'' that rules are being broken.

The decision means that marijuana seized from a Wenatchee High school student caught smoking near campus will be admissible as evidence in the student's trial this month for misdemeanor possession.

The student's lawyer contended that the marijuana and a pipe found in the girl's purse by a teacher and the principal were improperly confiscated. But the commissioner ruled that search standards for school workers are not as strict as those for police.

Vol. 13, Issue 13

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