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Ex-EPISD assistant superintendent indicted, allegedly tried to remove African-American students from certain schools

A former El Paso ISD Assistant Superintendent surrendered to federal agents early Monday morning.

A federal grand jury indicted James Anderson, 40, on charges of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Making a False Statement to a Federal Investigator.

The indictment alleges Anderson was part of a scheme to help EPISD cheat state and federal accountability measures in between February 2006 and September 2013.

Anderson and other administrators allegedly encouraged EPISD employees to lie about implementation of this scheme while intimidating and threatening employees who did not follow their directions.

The indictment also alleges that from July 2006 to June 2013, Anderson and other administrators created a plan to reduce or eliminate the African-American subgroup at certain schools so the Department of Education would believe that no African-American subgroup existed on any EPISD Priority School Division campus.

According to the Texas Education Agency website, when this cheating scheme allegedly took place the state required at least 90 percent of all students at each school to pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.

Each “subgroup,” those based on race, income, and English proficiency, must also meet the 90 percent criterion overall in order for a school to get a “passing” certification.

The implicated administrators hoped to drastically decrease each school’s chances of receiving a failing grade by allegedly trying to remove subgroups they considered to be at risk.

The indictment also alleges that in August 2012, Anderson lied to investigators in order to “mislead them and impede the government from learning of his role and others’ role in the scheme.”

Anderson faces up to five years in federal prison upon conviction of conspiracy to defraud the government; up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction of conspiracy to commit mail fraud; up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction of mail fraud; and up to five years in federal prison for making a false statement to a federal agent.

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