Wednesday, November 17, 2004


The former schools chief for the State of Georgia has been indicted for conspiracy, wire fraud and theft of public funds in the alleged embezzlement of $614,000 in federal education funds.

According to Monday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Linda Schrenko is accused by prosecutors of setting up a bilking scheme to siphon the money away from state schools for the deaf and the Governor’s Honors Program. She allegedly got the money through surrogates into her own campaign for governor, which was unsuccessful. She’s a former teacher and a Republican.

I hate that they think this happened. But I love how they found out:

The chairwoman of the State Board of Education noticed a series of checks that Schrenko had ordered made out in amounts just under $50,000. That’s the minimum state expenditure which requires board approval. An audit showed that the checks were going to various companies owned and controlled by Schrenko’s buddy, who in turn allegedly kicked back a lot of it to others to help with her campaign.

The alleged scheme involved back-dated contracts, false cover stories, false campaign disclosure forms, and lies to state auditors.

Now, here’s my point: do you THINK this kind of stuff DOESN’T happen in Nebraska? Even on a much smaller scale? I’m not accusing anyone, least of all our state schools chief. But think about the billion-dollar plus education empire in this state. Do you really think we’ve never had a scandal anything like this because it isn’t happening? Or because we aren’t looking?

It’s just another reason I plead for the go-ahead to let the state auditor give a business bath to all that state aid we pay out every year, at the very least. If we even found one-tenth as much fraud as I think we’ll find, it’d be worth it.

And at the district level, I plead for grassroots committees of ‘’Grumpy Old Men and Women’’ to volunteer to start going over those checks that cascade out of the central office.

Because if ye seek, O chillun, believe me, ye shall find.

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