OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Western Heights School District officials met with the state auditor on Friday as the State Department of Education officially takes control of the district.
This comes after a contentious week within the district, from Western Heights appointing it’s own interim superintendent despite the state appointing someone completely different, to parents finding shredded documents in the trash one day before a visit from the state auditor.
“This is a very important audit,” said State Auditor Cindy Byrd. “We need to get answers to the community.”
The state auditor addressed two audits requested by the State Department of Education and from the angry community.
“We will start with one part at a time and ask for those documents. As they get those to us, we will start to audit those, and as questions arise we will ask for more,” said Byrd.
Byrd said investigators will be looking at a number of things, like payroll, credit card and bond spending, overtime pay, private donations and ACT activity funds.
“We will be releasing one audit that covers all issues to be efficient,” said Byrd.
Twenty-four hours before the meeting, chaos erupted at a school board meeting. One concerned community member said she dug around in the dumpster to find shredded documents.
“We are always concerned whenever we see a large amount of records shredded, especially in the midst of asking for a special investigative audit,” said the state auditor.
The state will be taking the shredded pieces of paper just in case.
“If we find that any records are not available, then we’ll start looking at the shredded documents,” she said.
During the Thursday night meeting, the district appointed their own interim superintendent after the state already picked Monty Guthrie for the role.
Friday, the two interim superintendents met. So far, they are not elaborating on who will take charge.
“I’m not worried about titles right now,” said Guthrie.
Guthrie said the district, state department and educators are meeting up next week to hash out a game plan for the district.
“The fact that this district lost somewhere around 1,000 students in the last year has me concerned there are some needs that aren’t being met,” said Guthrie. “There’s a lot of work that’s going to take getting those students back and their needs met.”
Guthrie said he hasn’t met with the school board yet, but he and the education department will be back at the district on Thursday to hammer out the details.
Auditor Byrd said she’s aiming to have a report rolled out within six months.