Alabama wants $5.7 million in fraudulent virtual school payments reimbursed by defendants

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Alabama Department of Education wants defendants convicted in virtual school scheme to repay $5.7 million in state payments to private school students fraudulently enrolled as public school students.

Lawyers for the federal government and the five defendants submitted a joint plan to repay that money late last week. The plan is still awaiting approval from a federal judge.

The plan calls for former Athens city superintendent Trey Holladay to repay $2.9 million, retired teacher Greg Corkren to repay $1.3 million and the former soccer coach from Marengo Academy David “Webb” Tutt to repay $259,000.

Athens City Administrator William “Rick” Carter, convicted in March, would be liable for $1.3 million in reimbursements under the plan, but lawyers noted that Carter did not accept the plan. Carter’s attorneys have requested a new trial.

Learn more about Ed Lab: Alabama not doing enough to address teacher shortages, council member says.

Former Limestone County Superintendent Tom Sisk, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, would not pay any restitution under the submitted plan.

The defendants claimed that private state school students were enrolled full-time in public schools in the city of Athens and Limestone County. The systems received public funds for these students.

Four of the five defendants pleaded guilty last year. The sentence is set for June 28.

The State Department of Education said Athens city schools received $5.7 million in funding from the State Foundation program for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. for accused students enrolled in public schools when they were actually enrolled in private schools.

ALSDE wrote that the State Foundation program funded $3.1 million for 894 students in private schools for the 2016-17 school year and $2.6 million for 573 students in private schools for the 2017-18 school year.

ALSDE wrote that it had already recovered funds from Limestone County and Conecuh County that it had paid, but did not state the amounts.

In separate actions, the court recently ordered the defendants to confiscate the money they received fraudulently, for the following amounts:

  • Holiday – $185,770
  • Sisk – $13,000
  • All – $186,154
  • Cork – $679,595

Holladay voluntarily gave up her certificates to teach in Alabama according to State Department documents released last week.

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