4 principals charged in DPS scheme face 5 years in prison, $250K fine

On Tuesday four more Detroit Public Schools administrators appear before a judge they're among a dozen charged in a scheme that robbed students of the supplies they need to learn.

On Tuesday four more Detroit Public Schools administrators appeared before a judge. They are among a dozen charged in a scheme that robbed students of the supplies they need to learn.

One of the suspects, a principal who appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show to accept a $500,000 donation.

Accused of accepting kickbacks, four more of 13 Detroit Public School employees and a vendor were arraigned inside federal court Tuesday.

Each former principal was given a $10,000 bond, they all face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Tonya Bowman, Clara Smith, Germla Johnson and Ronald Alexander were charged with bribery in a kickback scheme believed to have taken nearly $1 million through a school supply vendor depriving students and teachers of more than $2.7 million in resources.

Alexander, a former principal of Detroit's Spain Elementary Middle School, is charged for pocketing $23,000. Alexander was smiling on the Ellen Show earlier this year when she announced the school would get $500,000 in donations.

Alexander spoke on the Ellen Show about cutbacks the school suffered.

Also charged:

Tonya Bowman, 48, the former principal of Osborn Collegiate Academy, is also charged for taking more than $12,000.

Germla Johnson, 56, the former principal of Earhart Elementary Middle School, who allegedly pocketed $23,000.

Clara Smith, 67, the former principal of Thirkell Elementary Middle School, allegedly took $194,000.

Mayor Mike Duggan on Tuesday said he is demanding a locally driven district.

"We've seen these corruption charges that occurred under state management," Duggan said. "It is time to return control to the local elected officials."

While nearly all defendants and attorneys declined comment to FOX 2 on Tuesday, Germla Johnson was seen crying in court.

Magistrate Elizabeth Stafford took a moment to inform everyone that Johnson is an old friend.

Johnson's attorney told Fox 2 "Today is a very sad day."


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