Education News

Former Charter School Leaders Accused Of Embezzling $2.6 Million

The charter school, Varnett Public School, said that it has new leadership and is moving forward.

Two former leaders of a Houston charter school are facing more than a dozen criminal charges, including allegations that they embezzled more than $2 million from school operations.

In all, there are nineteen counts on the indictment against Marian Annette Cluff and her husband Alsie Cluff, Jr. They include tax evasion and obstruction of justice.

Annette Cluff
Former Superintendent Annette Cluff of Varnett Public School 

Marian Cluff was the superintendent of the Varnett Public School in Houston. Her husband was a board member and employee.

Prosecutors allege that the couple took more than $1 million that parents had given for field trips and fundraisers.

The federal charges follow a state investigation that found in 2013 questionable school spending on cruises and spa services.

At the time, the couples’ then attorney Rusty Hardin said that they didn’t act with “any unlawful intent.”

In a statement, the current superintendent of the charter school, Margaret Stroud, said that it’s had new leadership since last August and is moving forward.

“We are disheartened to learn of the allegations; however, we are moving forward and will focus on the four principles of our core beliefs: high student achievement, safety, respect, and common decency. We are proud of our students’ and employees’ accomplishments over the past school year, and we are excited to continue our successes in the 2015-2016 school year.”

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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