Parents react to allegations against former Tornillo superintendent

KDBC
Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 11:45pm

Parents in Tornillo are demanding answers and action from the Texas Education Agency after an audit determined their former superintendent spent a million dollars of the district's money.

"We've known all along, for years, that this has been happening," said Rosalee Silva.

"They did us wrong and I'm hoping law enforcement comes in and investigates it thoroughly," said Daniel Rivera.

The forensic audit revealed that former superintendent, Paul Vranish and his wife, Marla, made questionable purchases - paying for things like travel and computers they had shipped to their house.

Tornillo parents said they always knew such things were happening but were intimidated and even threatened by Vranish when they questioned his decisions.

"That's just the type of person he was, he is somebody that abuses his power and he would talk to personnel in a threatening manner so, like, if you don't do what he says, you know, more than likely, he would try and fire you," said Rivera.

Last November, Vranish was removed as superintendent of the district when concerns over his spending first arose.

"I'm hoping they find this guy guilty and send him to jail because he stole the money from the kids, and the money is for the kids. Not for him," said Ricardo Hernandez.

The district is now sending these new audit findings to the TEA, the FBI, and the Sheriff's Office to be further investigated.

"Get that money back from this man, and that he is accountable, and that he is prosecuted," said Silva.

"These kind of people take advantage of the community, like the Hispanic community. They take advantage of our low-income, our low education," said Hernandez.

TEA says if they do find Vranish guilty of any wrongdoing, they could either implement a self-improvement plan or appoint a monitor to get the district back on track.

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