By The Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two former north Alabama school superintendents are among six people facing charges including conspiracy, fraud and identity theft in an alleged scheme to illegally boost school funding, court documents unsealed Tuesday show.
Former Athens school Superintendent Trey Holladay and former Limestone County Superintendent Tom Sisk were indicted by a federal grand jury in Montgomery, court records showed. So was Holladay’s wife, retired Athens teacher Deborah Irby Holladay.
The other three who were charged include former Athens High principal William Richard Carter Jr., who also oversaw virtual learning programs for the system; former Marengo Academy football coach David Webb Tutt; and Gregory Earl “Greg” Corkren, a retired teacher. Both Tutt and Corkren were identified as longtime friends of Holladay.
None of the six defendants has answered the charges in court, and documents available online did not include the names of defense lawyers.
The six were accused of a complicated scheme to boost public school funding by offering online classes through private schools in south Alabama. Private school students were wrongly counted as being enrolled in online classes through public schools to boost attendance by hundreds and obtain additional state funding, the indictment said.
Thousands of dollars changed hands through cash payments and fund transfers, the indictment said.
Holladay left his job last fall amid an investigation after the Athens school board agreed to pay him $250,000 to buy out his contract. Sisk was forced out of a superintendent’s job in Tennessee a year ago amid questions about his qualifications after departing the Limestone County system in 2019.
The indictment includes 90 counts of wire fraud and 34 counts of identity theft involving students who were allegedly falsely enrolled on the rolls of public schools.