UPDATE: 11/14/2013 – The Clarion Ledger reports that Harvey Franklin, former assistant superintendent from Walton County Public Schools, was sentenced to 76 months in prison on Wednesday. According to The Clarion Ledger, Franklin was given a 76 month sentence for his part in a bribery scheme related to a $1.4 million reading program instituted at a Mississippi school district in which he served as superintendent from 2009 to 2010. Franklin’s attorney reportedly told The Clarion Ledger that he is considering an appeal.
Harvey Franklin, a former assistant superintendent of Walton County Public Schools, is facing a possible five to seven years in federal prison.
Franklin is scheduled to be sentenced in Jackson, Miss. on Nov. 14 in connection with charges related to a bribery scheme involving a Conyers, Ga., businesswoman, according to The Clarion Ledger.
Franklin pleaded guilty in August 2012 to three counts of accepting bribes from Edna Goble, who owned Teach Them to Read, The Clarion Ledger reports. Goble’s company reportedly received a $1.40 million contract from Greenville Schools in 2010, where Franklin was superintendent, and used federal grant money for the program. Franklin is reported to have received more than $272,000 bribes from Goble. These were reportedly paid in the form of house improvements, tuition for his children and the paying off of a truck loan and credit card bills.
The same program, dubbed EDNA for Early Detection Necessary Action, was used by WCPS during Franklin’s tenure. WCPS spokesperson Kim Embry told Loganville-Grayson Patch last year that WCPS used the program in Title 1 elementary schools from 2002 to 2009 for a total cost of $1,675,434. The program was cut after Franklin’s tenure ended in 2009. He served as superintendent in Greenville from July 2009 to May 2012, according to The Clarion Ledger.
Embry told Loganville-Grayson Patch that the program was cut in the 2009-2010 school year “as a cost saving measure because the curriculum department and schools using the program felt that the money could be better used elsewhere during lean budget times.”
WCPS officials were contacted by federal authorities during the investigation, according to Embry, but at this time Monroe Local is not aware of any investigation or charges relating to Franklin’s tenure with the local school system. Franklin’s attorney is reportedly contesting the suggested prison sentence, according to The Clarion Ledger, particularly in the light of a much lighter suggested sentence for Goble. She is only facing a likely six months house arrest.
The Republic reports that Franklin’s attorney contends that it is not fair for Franklin to face a disproportionately higher sentence. Franklin had initially agreed to testify against Goble for a lighter sentence, but Goble herself also entered a guilty plea.