DAYTON, KY (FOX19) - One of the poorest school districts in the state of Kentucky is about to get a lot of money back.
Former Dayton, Kentucky school superintendent Gary Rye will now pay back almost a half million dollars after a state audit found he took that money from the school district's budget during his time as superintendent.
Last winter, the state auditor called this one the most "egregious" cases of abuse he's seen in the state.
Adam Edelen says it's one of the most defining moments of his career to date.
Edelen said he felt glad to know that Dayton Independent Schools will have $511 thousand returned to their general fund. Half of that money will come in the next year and the rest over the next decade.
"This is a message clearly to every corner of the Commonwealth," says Edelen, "that if you abuse the trust of children, if you steal from children, particularly poor ones, we will get you."
In Dayton, that means a $511 thousand payment back to the school district after an audit by the state revealed abuse, misuse and theft of funds by former superintendent Gary Rye.
"Folks, this isn't just about Dayton, although we have a long cause to celebrate in making it right for the kids here," says Edelen.
Rye will pay back $473 thousand, half of that this year and the other half over the next ten years. The CPA Firm that audits Dayton Schools will pay &38 thousand.
"When an abuse occurs, it is not just enough for the guy to go to jail, and I just would like to point out that I very much hope that Gary Rye does go to jail," says Edelen.
Edelen tells FOX19 that there is no question that Rye took money from the schools the entire time he served as superintendent… Fifteen years.
Edelen and Dayton school administrators made this announcement to a packed house that included students from Dayton High School.
Edelen also said the future for Dayton's children will be better.
"I think today represents the birth of a new Dayton School district," says Edelen, "and with it, a renewed commitment statewide that we run our schools for the benefit of the children."
The criminal case against Gary Rye is ongoing. The FBI is also involved.
The investigation at Dayton cost the auditor's office $25 thousand to complete.