News - Linda Schrenko

For robbing us deaf

Actually, some good could yet come out of the Schrenko saga if it serves as a cautionary tale for her right-wing fan base.

Schrenko's tenure as state school superintendent was a disaster from the very beginning — her infighting with the school board, attacks on the PTA and an almost total lack of interest in actually showing up for work — but her supporters never seemed to care.

It's become conventional wisdom that many Christian conservative voters turn a blind eye to job performance and even basic competence for those public officials who claim to be one of them.

That went double for Schrenko, who rarely bothered to darken the doorstep of her office during her last six months on the job, yet always seemed to have legions of defenders around the state ready to claim that she was persecuted and misunderstood.

What will her fans say now that she's facing 30 years in prison for allegedly siphoning off more than $600,000 in public funds — a portion of which was intended for the state's deaf kids? Of course, that's peanuts compared to the millions of state education dollars she squandered through bureaucratic incompetence and half-assed programs while she was superintendent.

The lesson to be learned here is for voters to demand accountability from their public officials, rather than simply having faith that someone who talks the talk will be able to do the job. There was every sign that Schrenko wasn't up to the task of running the largest agency in the state, if her fans had only bothered to look past her rhetoric.

Now that their heroine has been accused of being a crook, maybe they'll get wise.

And don't get us started about the face-lift. We wouldn't have begrudged Schrenko that $9,300 had she spent it on a good therapist.

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