OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR)- Select few Republicans were provided with a “confidential report” written by State Superintendent Ryan Walters this week.
News 4 was provided with a copy of the report from an anonymous source.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Chief Policy Advisor, Matt Langston previously admitted to “trapping” employees with different versions of an email to see who was leaking information to the press. Because of this, News 4 has elected to not publicly share the copy we received in case of a similar situation happening.
News 4 was tipped off on Wednesday about a “confidential report” being shared amongst some lawmakers, but not all.
“Superintendent Walters sent a confidential report to all Republican members of the legislature,” stated Langston.
News 4 has confirmed not all Republicans received the report based on off-camera discussions with those lawmakers and Capitol communications members.
News 4 asked Langston why Democratic lawmakers were not provided with a copy.
“The confidential report was sent to serious decision makers in the state. It was a thoughtful process on how we created our distribution list,” added Langston.
The report cites several mistakes and alleged wrongdoings while Supt. Walters’ predecessor, Joy Hofmeister was in office. The accusations include a legal investigation backlog, financial and physical waste, federal program errors, staffing increase and inefficient organizational structure, agency leaks and sabotage, and more.
Supt. Walters claims Hofmeister’s administration failed to complete license revocation hearings for teachers accused of serious crimes such as rape and murder. A list of 19 cases from 2019-2021 were provided as an exhibit.
However, a former Mustang High School teacher, Raymond Garner was arrested in February for allegedly raping a then-student. He has since been charged with multiple counts of rape and sexual battery.
As of Thursday afternoon, Garner is still licensed to teach in Oklahoma until 2026.
Supt. Walters also claimed the previous Oklahoma State Department of Education administration were “extremely poor stewards” of taxpayer dollars.
The report lists several electronic devices purchased and attached to the report as another exhibit are photos of the waste piled up in an unknown room.
The State Superintendent claims the Federal Programs division made several mistakes and if those mistakes had not been discovered, it would have resulted in taxpayers paying $31M.
He also stated if his administration had not looked over the federal funding calculations, the State Department of Education would have owed $27M to be in compliance with maintenance of equity requirements.
Meanwhile, Supt. Walters is now facing a state forensic audit, requested by the State Attorney General, over the mishandling of $31M in Covid-relief funds ear-marked for education.
Another miscalculation allegedly caused a charter school to be over-funded, requiring them to pay back $547,000.
According to Supt. Walters, Hofmeister paid a total of $37,480,048.09 during her last year in office in department salaries. He claims to have cut that number down to $21,994,836.95 within in his first eight months in office.
The report then dives into a “failure in A-F report cards.”
Supt. Walters accused Hofmeister of removing the most experienced employee from the report card process and replacing that person with someone who did not meet minimum job qualifications to lead the accountability division. As a result of this, he claims it caused school districts to review their data on three separate occasions.
He added this played a role in why report cards were delayed by nearly six months, but didn’t provide what time period these allegations stem from.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s former Chief of Staff is also accused in the report of planting media stories.
Supt. Walters stated in the report this former employee has solicited information from current employees and coordinated with now-former employees.
Supt. Walters also mentioned how the former Chief of Staff would call him “Little Hitler” and a “true [piece of s**t].”
According to Supt. Walters, this same former Chief of Staff allegedly deleted 1,700+ emails in the last six months Hofmeister was in office.
“All government communications are considered open records,” the report states.
Supt. Walters ends his letter portion of the report with his desire to always advocate for government transparency.
Several exhibits were provided in the report.
With Democrats left out of the loop, it’s now has many frustrated with Supt. Walters.
“I found out I wasn’t part of the cool kids club,” said House Representative Mickey Dollens (D-OKC). “I feel like I’m back in middle school and the cool kids are passing notes and we’re left oblivious, which is really an atrocity if you think about it.”
House Representative Jacob Rosecrants (D-Norman) echoed the same feeling of wrongfully being left out.
“He’s the head of an agency that the legislature funds. If he’s going to communicate with anybody in the legislature, it has to be everybody in the legislature. If you don’t, you’re going to get push back like this, so it was a really idiotic move,” said Rep. Rosecrants.
Rep. Dollens doesn’t understand why only select few legislators received the report. He said each legislator has a different set of constituents, so it’d help if the information was spread across the table.
“That just really raises a bunch of questions. I think that as lawmakers, we deserve to have information that is being shared with other lawmakers. To withhold that makes no sense. It’s a disservice to the people of Oklahoma whose taxpayers pay the salaries of Ryan Walters and Matt Langston at the State Department of Education,” stated Rep. Dollens.
Once both Rep. Dollens and Rep. Rosecrants were informed of what the contents of the report were, they were confused as to why a former elected official was still being brought up.
“Since he took over, he’s trying to say this is a dumpster fire. All this stuff about the previous administration, which I can tell you right now, that’s the exact opposite of the truth. The State Department of Education under Joy Hofmeister and her team, that was a place that was open. That was a place where I could get answers for anything within minutes, not 130 days. Do you see what I’m saying? So, no, it’s just all more B.S. It’s all more gaslighting, which is very, very, very on point with this regime and people need to push back,” explained Rep. Rosecrants.
“Sounds less confidential and more propaganda. It sounds like they’re trying to create a messaging campaign to smear and impugn the character of Joy Hofmeister and I wouldn’t be surprised because that’s all this administration has done in the past eight months,” added Rep. Dollens.
Rep. Dollens said he plans to continue holding the State Supt. accountable and to continue pressing on issues of concern, such as the GEER funds.
As for Rep. Rosecrants, he told KFOR he still stands behind considering impeachment, but he’s been told for now “wait and see.”
He’s hoping the State Department of Education will get back on track and focus on lifting up school districts rather than tearing them down, especially Tulsa Public Schools.
News 4 asked Langston if Supt. Walters was available for an interview on Thursday to go over the report.
“No,” said Langston in a text message.
So far, News 4 has been able to confirm the Senate President Pro Tempore, the Speaker of the House, and several Republicans received the “confidential” reports this week.
The Senate Pro Tem’s Office told KFOR they acknowledge the report is confidential and are working to understand why it’s marked that way.