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Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 12:51am
Tornillo, TX (KDBC) — Some one million dollars went unaccounted for from a local school district's budget and on Wednesday night, an investigation of the Tornillo Independent School District revealed that money was spent by the district's former superintendent and his wife.
According to a forensic audit of Tornillo ISD conducted by Lauterbach, Borschow & Company, P.C., former Superintendent Paul Vranish and his wife, Marla, used district money to pay for certain expenses that were never documented and were off the record.
The report, which investigated the district between 2006 to 2011, claims Vranish had set up separate bank accounts that he used to pay for things like travel, and buy electronic equipment, like computers, he had shipped to his house.
Sources told Local4News the two even used district money to order medicine from a company in Juarez.
The audit report revealed Vranish and his wife also received payments that exceeded their normal salaries, and that some of the extra pay was approved by Vranish himself.
The report mentioned that it is still unclear whether or not the school board at that time approved some of this undocumented spending. The auditors did not interview Vranish or his wife.
One Tornillo ISD parent said he's convinced Vranish stole much-needed tax dollars from a poor community.
"He robbed me. that's my money. He's stealing my money. I feel like that is my money and I want my money to go to the kids. Not to his pocket," said Ricardo Hernandez.
"I feel kind of sad in a way that this had to happen to us. That our kids were left out. We don't have much. If you look around, you don't see a playground around here," said Francisco Javier Escalante, Tornillo ISD Board President.
Board members said they will now report the audit findings to the Texas Education Agency, the FBI, and the District Attorney's office.
They said they're determined to pursue the allegations to find out whether the former superintendent is guilty of any wrongdoing or whether there's another explanation for the missing money.