Darling of the Georgia Far Right and defender of Christian values, Linda Schrenko, cut a deal with prosecutors yesterday to plead guilty in exchange for eight years in prison for stealing $600,000 in state education money intended for deaf students while State Superintendent of Schools. It was for good reason, though. She got a face lift. Poor Linda. The story:
ATLANTA — A former Georgia state school superintendent accused of embezzling $600,000 and spending it on a face-lift and an unsuccessful campaign for governor pleaded guilty Wednesday and will serve eight years in prison.
Linda Schrenko, 56, struck a plea bargain in the middle of her trial. The trial continues for two alleged accomplices.
Prosecutors said Schrenko stole federal education money to underwrite her 2002 GOP campaign for governor, cosmetic surgery and other extras, including a television, computer and a down payment on a car.
Schrenko pleaded guilty to one count each of money laundering and fraud. She was originally charged with 40 counts, including conspiracy. She and her lawyer had no comment.
But this editorial from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution nails it:
Will Bush have a medal to pin on her for her service to the sacred cause of phonics instruction--before she goes to prison?
Former state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko won election twice by promising to infuse a wanton Department of Education with conservative Christian values. To her, apparently, that meant having an affair with her second-in-command, hiring her friends for cushy DOE jobs and stealing a half-million dollars from students to finance her failed 2002 Republican gubernatorial campaign and a face-lift.
For her sins, Schrenko is going to jail. Despite the embarrassing defense that her lover duped her into breaking the law, Schrenko pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding the government and money laundering. She accepted eight years in prison and waived her right to appeal.
The cost to Georgians goes far beyond the $600,000 that Schrenko now admits stealing. During her eight years at DOE, the agency squandered at least $50 million on useless technology. A former teacher and principal, Schrenko surrounded herself with cronies whose main qualification was their loyalty to her. Her paranoia and her pettiness drove out education professionals. She slandered the PTA, bickered with Democrats and Republicans alike and fought every effort by the Legislature to reform Georgia schools. . . .