Dallas ISD faulted for using fake Social Security numbers
By TAWNELL D. HOBBS / The Dallas Morning News
Years after being advised by a state agency to stop, the Dallas Independent School District continued to provide foreign citizens with fake Social Security numbers to get them on the payroll quickly.
The practice was described in an internal report issued in September by the district's investigative office, which looked into the matter after receiving a tip. The report said the Texas Education Agency learned of the fake numbers in 2004 and told DISD then that the practice "was illegal."
"There's no way we should be doing that kind of stuff," Ms. Olson said. "Even if your intention is good to help employees get paid, you can't use inappropriate procedures to do that."
However, according to the report, a sampling of several fake numbers showed that they had been included in a July quarterly report sent to the Texas Workforce Commission.
The district's investigative unit, called the Office of Professional Responsibility, began looking into the fake numbers after the Texas Education Agency's division of educator investigations advised the unit in July that it had discovered the district issuing false numbers in 2004.
Doug Phillips, TEA's director of investigations and fingerprinting, said his office believed the district had stopped the practice because there was no evidence that it continued. He said Thursday that he didn't know which laws forbid issuing fake Social Security numbers.
"We just knew it looked bad and smelled bad," Mr. Phillips said. "That was the first time we'd ever heard of that one."
The investigative report also found that the district hasn't been turning in "new hire" forms to the Texas attorney general's office, which uses the information to find parents who haven't paid child support. Failure to provide the forms to the attorney general can result in a $25 fine for each employee. The district doesn't know yet whether it will have to pay any fines.
"You can't just arbitrarily issue Social Security numbers," she said. "Even if your intention is good, it's not legal."
Here's how the Dallas school district's false Social Security number process worked: