Another former Philadelphia School District principal has been arrested in the city's cheating scandal.

State Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said Lolamarie Davis-O'Rourke, 43, was taken into custody Wednesday on charges that she tampered with students' test scores while principal at Locke School from 2009-10 to 2011-12.

She is the third former district principal to be charged as a result of the test-tampering investigation.

A grand jury found that Davis-O'Rourke created an environment "ripe for cheating" on the state PSSA tests by encouraging students to change answers from wrong to right, and directing teachers to help students change answers and rewrite their responses, according to a news release by Kane.

She also allegedly changed the locks on a storage room so that only she and the building engineer could have access to the stored test booklets, Kane contended.

Davis-O'Rourke surrendered her administrative certificate in April 2013 rather than go through a hearing process before the state Department of Education over alleged testing improprieties. She had left the School District in August 2012.

She could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education had referred her case to the Attorney General's Office to probe what Kane on Wednesday called "widespread cheating in the district and elsewhere in the commonwealth."

The grand jury presentment said Data Recognition Corp., a Minnesota company that makes and grades the PSSA exams, found that the probability that the 2011 erasure patterns at Locke occurred naturally was less than one in 100 million.

Davis-O'Rourke, of Williamstown, was charged with counts of tampering with public records, forgery, and criminal conspiracy.

The grand jury found that after the School District increased monitoring for testing irregularities, the number of students at Locke scoring advanced or proficient across most grade levels dropped dramatically.

Locke is located at 46th Street and Haverford Avenue in the West Powelton section. Its former principal is the eighth former district educator to be charged criminally in the scandal.

Along with Davis-O'Rourke, the state has brought charges against former educators at Cayuga Elementary, and Bok and Communications Technology High Schools.

Cases against Evelyn Cortez, Jennifer Hughes, Lorraine Vicente, Ary Sloane, and Rita Wyszynski, who all worked at Cayuga; Arthur "Larry" Melton, formerly of Bok; and Barbara McCreery, an ex-Comm Tech principal, are all pending.

"This type of public corruption in our education system deprives children of opportunities for learning," Kane said in a statement. "It undermines educators' abilities to evaluate progress and set a course for our children's successes."

The state began examining PSSA irregularities in 2011 after The Inquirer reported allegations that cheating was responsible for gains in 2009 at Roosevelt Middle School in East Germantown. A state-commissioned analysis of the 2009 PSSA also identified suspicious patterns of erasures at schools across the state.

martha.woodall@philly 215-854-2789


Inquirer staff writer Kristen A. Graham contributed to this article.