in Houston, Texas
Resignation of Tornillo ISD superintendent called into question; audit found district funds used for snowmobile repair, other personal expenses
Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012, 03:41PM CST
By Steve Miller

The superintendent of the Tornillo Independent School District near El Paso resigned amidst an investigation into missing money. But school board members never signed off on the resignation and are questioning the validity of his departure.

Paul Vranish submitted his resignation at a Jan. 31 board meeting to the panel’s president and secretary, according to a report from KVIA in El Paso.  The board previously declined to extend his contract. According to the resignation letter, Vranish would leave the district in June.

The station reports:

A Feb. 4 email allegedly written and sent by board president Rachel Avila said due to Vranish's resignation, "he collected $276,000, which cost the district $414,000 due to a state aid penalty."

The investigation by the Texas Education Agency was launched in September regarding travel funds. Vranish at the time welcomed the scrutiny and continues to deny any wrongdoing.

A TEA audit discovered Vranish and his wife may have used district funds to pay for cell phones, travel and repairs to his snowmobile, according to the KVIA story. The station said that TEA investigation found Vranish and his wife were reimbursed $117,394 last year for purchases they claim were district-related.

Vranish has been at the district since 2002. In December he published a paper at the Web site and in the journal of the American Association of School Administrators entitled “Making Superintendent Evaluation Fun?”

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or

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Photo of snowmobiles by flickr user Digidave, used via a Creative Commons license.

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