Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday referred to as for a state audit of Oklahoma’s largest college district.
Tulsa Public Faculties is suspected of “potential mishandling of public funds” and of violating Home Invoice 1775, the governor alleged in a video posted to social media.
“We are going to unravel what’s happening in Tulsa Public Faculties,” Stitt stated.
The varsity district didn’t instantly return requests for remark Thursday afternoon.
Two members of the Tulsa Board of Schooling, E’Lena Ashley and Jennettie Marshall, requested for an audit of the varsity district in a July 1 letter to the governor.
Extra:Few Oklahoma state staff served as substitute academics beneath Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plan
Ashley and Marshall despatched the letter after the district found $20,000 in contract administration irregularities. The varsity district advised the Tulsa World it notified legislation enforcement of irregularities between a vendor and the varsity district’s Expertise Administration Division.
Chief Expertise and Fairness Officer Devin Fletcher resigned June 27, the World reported.
Ashley and Marshall stated the Tulsa college board was unaware of the investigation till June 30 and imagine a lot of the board is “at nighttime.”
Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd confirmed her workplace acquired Stitt’s request for an audit of the Tulsa district.
The governor requested for a particular audit, which checks whether or not an entity complied with state legislation and inner management procedures.
The Tulsa district has been a frequent goal of the governor’s criticism all through the coronavirus pandemic. He reiterated his earlier complaints on Thursday, noting Tulsa colleges closed for 300 consecutive days due to COVID-19.
He stated the district acquired greater than $200 million in federal pandemic aid funds.
“Board members, dad and mom, college students and academics should know the way that cash was spent,” Stitt stated.
Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist referred to as Stitt a “bully” after the governor scrutinized the district 2021 State of the State speech for remaining in digital studying.
“Our governor solely assaults,” Gist wrote in a Fb submit after Stitt’s tackle. “He pits households in opposition to academics and districts in opposition to different districts and confuses an already tumultuous time for all of us. He’s deliberately looking for to divide us greater than this horrible scenario already has.”
The governor incorrectly acknowledged in his video that Tulsa remained closed the longest of any college district. Western Heights Public Faculties in Oklahoma Metropolis was the final district within the state to reopen for face-to-face studying in the course of the pandemic. All others had returned to in-person lessons not less than as soon as every week.
Stitt additionally falsely described HB 1775 as a ban on important race concept from public colleges. The 2021 invoice doesn’t include the phrases “important race concept,” although many interpret the invoice as a prohibition of it. Important race concept is an instructional idea usually taught on the faculty stage that examines racism as one thing embedded inside the constructions of American society, just like the felony justice system or colleges.
HB 1775 outlaws educators from instructing one race is superior to a different, that an individual is inherently racist or oppressive, and that folks ought to really feel discomfort or guilt due to their race or intercourse, amongst different provisions.
The Tulsa district is the primary to be present in violation of HB 1775.
The Oklahoma State Division of Schooling decided a 20-minute coaching course for district employees contradicted the legislation. The varsity district cooperated with the company’s investigation and pledged to right the difficulty, stated Brad Clark, normal counsel for the state Schooling Division.
The Oklahoma State Board of Schooling is predicted to vote this month to demote Tulsa’s accreditation standing to “accredited with deficiency” due to the discovering. Accredited with deficiency is outlined as a faculty failing to fulfill requirements however not in a method that significantly detracts from its instructional program.
Throughout the state board’s June 23 assembly, Clark stated it was a “shut name” whether or not the coaching amounted to a violation.