Superintendent resigns after state audit reveals problems within special education program at Union City Schools

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UNION CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – An audit of the special education program at Union City Public Schools ignited a massive shake up within the district.

At the school board meeting Monday, members went into executive session for hours to discuss how the district plans to move forward. 

“It indicates to me negligence,” Union City parent Marti Duggan said. 

News 4 uncovered the audit by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. 

Inside, KFOR found an extensive review of the caseload and files of 55 students with disabilities ranging from three years old to seniors in high school. 

Areas of non-compliance were uncovered, including the majority of the students “not receiving current academic data”, “no documentation of progress toward yearly goals”, and “no paper trail of staff signatures” along the way. 

The audit also calls for more training among all special education staff. 

Marti Duggan has a 12-year-old son with Down syndrome. 

“As a mom right now it doesn’t matter why his needs weren’t met,” Duggan said. “I just need you to promise me they will be met.”

Chris Quigley and her husband tell KFOR their son has had a different experience. 

“I was concerned but we have to go off what was real and our child has thrived,” Chris Quigley said. 

Just days after the audit surfaced, word spread the superintendent and the dean of students could be on their way out. 

Monday night, the school board discussed their statuses behind closed doors. 

Elementary principal and the head of the special education program, Kerri Griggs, also waiting to see if her job is still secure. 

Some showed up Monday night standing up for Griggs. 

“This can easily get spun that she’s the worst person in the world, but she is the most caring person,” Blake Nelson said. 

 The school board accepted the resignation of former superintendent Todd Carel. 

Union City Public Schools sent KFOR this statement:

“On July 7, 2020, effective immediately, Todd Carrel, resigned his position as Superintendent and HS Principal of Union City Public Schools. The Union City Public Schools’ Board of Education is working to name an interim superintendent. After an interim is named, we remain committed to searching for a permanent leader who will position our district for success not only academically, but in all aspects that our community, parents and students, both expect and deserve.

In addition to the superintendent’s resignation, we also must address the State Department of Education’s Special Education Audit report. We pledge as a board, to ensure that our district will address any findings in the report and take corrective actions and review current policy and procedures and update as needed. The State Department of Education is schedule to conduct training for staff on August 11, 2020 to address issue raised by the audit. While our current situation might feel unsettling, we will get through this and we will come out stronger and focused on our mission of serving all of our children with a quality education. Thank you for your continued support.”

UCPS will have a special meeting Thursday July 16 at 6 P.M. to further discuss a hiring an interim superintendent. 

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