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Dayton bouncing back as former Superintendent heads to jail

DAYTON, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- Former Dayton Schools Superintendent, Gary Rye, will be sentenced for embezzlement on Tuesday and is expected to spend 18-24 months in prison. 

Rye pled guilty to one count of embezzlement in Federal District Court last December.  In March of 2013, Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen revealed that Rye had misappropriated more than $200,000 by manipulating his retirement account and abusing the district's gas card.

Rye has paid full restitution to the school district and has cooperated with federal investigators.  In a memo filed last week, Rye's attorneys described him as an excellent educator, who was generous with his money and suffered from depression.  They asked for probation or home confinement.

Two letters asked for a harsh sentence.  Former Dayton Superintendent Jack Moreland wrote, "The maximum sentence in this case is not enough. His debt to society should be equivalent to the number of lost learning opportunities and lost potential his greed created."

Current superintendent Jay Brewer did not write a letter.  He discovered Rye's scheme a few months after taking over and brought in the FBI and Kentucky State Auditor. Despite the loss of money, at a time when the district was already facing sharp budget cuts, Rye's blow was not a fatal one.  Test scores at every school are up.

"A year ago, in the latest rankings we were 172 out of 174 in the state of Kentucky," Rye said Monday morning in a newly-renovated Lincoln Elementary.  "I just appreciate our staff keeping their heads down due to this whole ordeal and keeping their focus on kids.  They've done a great job of not letting this be a distraction or disruption and it could've been."

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