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Indictment details how former associate superintendent allegedly worked to defraud US gov

Damon Murphy and other local educators were escorted out of the county jail by FBI agents.

The newly unsealed criminal indictment details how Damon Murphy and other El Paso Independent School District officials conspired between 2006 and 2013 to manipulate grade classifications, academic performance and demographic makeup.

Damon Murphy, James Anderson, John Tanner, Mark Phillip Tegmeyer, Diane Thomas and Nancy Love are all named in the report

The report reveals former EPISD associate superintendent Damon Murphy tried to keep the number of LEP or limited English proficiency students under 50 at each campus.

This would reportedly let them fly under the radar of federal accountability scores.

The report also shows Murphy directed EPISD principals to keep LEP students out of 10th-grade where they would have to take assessment tests.

This in turn, misrepresented the academic performances of EPISD campuses.

According to the report, Murphy directed EPISD campus directors to give modified TAKS tests to students not designated as special education to assure passing scores.

The document also shows the defendants forged documents to forgive excessive student absences, resulting in passing grades and course credit even though students attended less than the state mandates 90 percent of class days

Page 10 of the indictment reveals the defendants also created a sham credit recovery method giving students credit for courses needed for graduation that students didn't really earn.

In September 2009, Damon Murphy emailed James Anderson in a message titled "EPISD high school credit recovery options"

In the message, Murphy essentially gave permission to give students who didn't attend the state-mandated 90 percent of classes a free pass.

Murphy allegedly directed Anderson that absences could be handled solely by the principal if the student had attended the class at least 75 percent of the time, regardless of the fact that "no extenuating circumstances" were present

On page 7, it shows John Tanner, an EPISD employee at the time approved hundreds of bogus credit recovery forms - in turn restoring credit which had been denied at Austin High School because of excessive student absences - even though there was no basis to do so.


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