By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A judge has held a Hunting Park school principal and three teachers for trial on charges they cheated on state tests.

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During the daylong preliminary hearing, staffers at Cayuga Elementary School testified that principal Evelyn Cortez pressured teachers to give students answers to the state PSSA exams, changed completed test booklets, and reprimanded teachers who wouldn’t cheat.  Michael Coard, attorney for teacher Ary Sloane, says the state’s case against his client isn’t strong enough.

“What we don’t have is a crime.  This is personnel issue, not a courtroom issue,” Coard said.

Cortez’ attorney Michael Walker hinted the case may not go to trial.

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“We don’t want to jump to the point where we’re actually going to trial.  We’re going to talk to each other.  We’re ging to reconvene, and then talk to the prosecutors after that to find out whether or not this is something we can settle before that time,” Walker said.

Municipal Judge David Shuter did throw out corrupt organizations charges against Cortez and defendants Lorraine Vicente and Jennifer Hughes.

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