Oklahoma County judge sides with State in Western Heights School District legal battle

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Western Heights Public Schools

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Tuesday, an Oklahoma County District Court judge ruled in favor of the State in its legal battle against the Western Heights School District.

In early April, the State Board placed Western Heights on probation, citing a list of problems.

Western Heights was given 90 days to take corrective action or risk losing accreditation.

Western Heights School District announced its lawsuit later that month.

Since that time, Western Heights’ former superintendent, Mannix Barnes’ certification was suspended and the State Board of Education adopted an intervention plan along with a new superintendent, Monty Guthrie.

The Western Heights School Board then appointed their own superintendent, Kim Race – the schools’ assistant superintendent at the time.

Now, District Court Judge Aletia Timmons has ruled in favor of the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Oklahoma Board of Education and Hofmeister in a court battle against Western Heights and former superintendent Barnes.

The court ruled in the State’s favor on all 13 issues presented, including the emergency action to remove Barnes.

Oklahoma’s State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is demanding Western Heights School Board President Robert Everman resign and attorney Jerry Colclazier stop wasteful litigation at taxpayers’ expense.

“When the families of Western Heights spoke out, we listened and we acted. Today’s ruling by Judge Timmons supports our actions and shows that the law is clear. The State Board of Education and the Oklahoma State Department of Education have the authority to respond and intervene in a school district when students’ needs are willfully disregarded and unmet, when fiscal management is recklessly inadequate, and when community voices have gone unheard for too long,” Hofmeister said. “Every step of this court battle, we have prevailed. But most importantly, this is a victory for Western Heights students, families and the community.

The next step is to remove Everman and stop any more wasteful and destructive litigation. These two men, Everman and Colclazier, are not serving this district in a way that represents parents, families and the greater Western Heights community. They must go.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister

Attorney Jerry Colclazier also responded to today’s decision.

The decision was not a surprise and will be immediately appealed.

Jerry L. Colclazier

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