Published Online: October 23, 2002
Published in Print: October 23, 2002, as State Journal

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Parting Words

After making headlines as Georgia's superintendent of schools for eight years, Linda C. Schrenko seems to have finally told the local news media how she really feels about them—and may be more popular for it.

Linda C. Schrenko

In an e-mail letter to Atlanta television reporter Bill Nigut sprinkled with expletives, the outgoing Republican schools chief facetiously refers to the "unbiased media" and calls herself a "bitter has-been politician."

"Now I am leaving office and I ain't coming back so all of you unbiased media types just go [expletive] yourselves and make my day," said the e-mail, sent this month.

Mr. Nigut had asked to interview the superintendent about a series of checks she had sent to various vendors that did not first go before the state board of education for approval. An article about the expenditures appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to the e-mail, which was posted on WSB-TV's Web site, Ms. Schrenko wrote: "I knew that I would be leaving in January, and so I walked through the last money we had hidden from the board's greed and spent it on the students, who during my term, never got one single increase in spending from the legislature. It was my parting gift to them."

Over the years, Ms. Schrenko has wrangled with the state board, which is appointed by the governor, over the management of the state education department.

She ran an unsuccessful campaign for the GOP nomination for governor this year, hoping to face off against Democratic incumbent Roy E. Barnes in the November election. She lost to Sonny Perdue, a former state legislator, in the August primary.

Meanwhile, Ms. Schrenko's choice words for the press may have improved her image with the public. An unscientific poll conducted by the television station showed that 67 percent of 10,890 people who responded to an online survey said they thought more highly of the superintendent after reading her e-mail. Ten percent said they now thought worse of her, and 22 percent said the e-mail was "typical" of her and did not affect their opinions.

Ms. Schrenko did not respond to a request for comment.

—Linda Jacobson

Vol. 22, Issue 8, Page 11

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