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Three former Imperial Valley educators indicted in misuse of public funds

November 30, 2010 |  5:47 pm

Two former professors and a former schools superintendent in the Imperial Valley have been indicted for allegedly misusing federal grant money, the U.S. Attorney's office in San Diego announced Tuesday.

Indicted were Michael Klentschy, 66, former superintendent of the El Centro Elementary School District, and Olga Amaral, 56, and Leslie Garrison, 61, identified as former professors at the Imperial Valley campus of San Diego State University.

The three are charged with misusing approximately $500,000 in grant money from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, according to court documents. The money, part of $4.5 million in grants, was meant to improve the teaching of science in elementary schools and to compare an El Centro school with a school in Nashville.

Among other things, Klentschy is accused of double billing for travel expenses and submitting phony test scores on grant applications.

Klentschy was superintendent from 1994 to 2007. Garrison and Amaral were professors at the Imperial Valley campus and also employees of the San Diego State Research Foundation, which administers grant money.

The charges include conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud. A court hearing is set for the three on Jan. 14.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

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