Oklahoma City, OK – After several years of controversy, it appears the Broken Arrow school district is now under criminal investigation, state Rep. Mike Reynolds said today.
"I was informed today that the state audit of the Broken Arrow school district's finances has been completed and turned over the Office of the Attorney General for possible criminal prosecution," said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. "It is unfortunate that lawmakers are not being provided the details of the audit during this year's session. If there has been misuse of taxpayer dollars, it would be best if lawmakers were given that information before they finalize a state budget."
The Broken Arrow school district has been a source of controversy since October 2007 when the school board fired Superintendent Jim Sisney. Sisney has alleged he was fired because he discovered wrongful business practices between the school and a heating and air contractor.
Since that time, Reynolds has scrutinized the district as well, and questioned the legality of $242,000 paid out for unused sick leave at the district.
Reynolds obtained a Feb. 26, 2004 document by Broken Arrow school attorney J. Douglas Mann advising a school official that payments for unused sick leave were illegal.
In the document, Mann noted that Broken Arrow's policy allowed teachers to be paid for any unused sick leave greater than 120 days of accumulated leave.
Under state law, Mann concluded that such payments could be made to teachers only upon "termination of employment." Reynolds noted that the Broken Arrow school district was reportedly paying teachers for all unused sick leave while individuals remained employed with the district.
Reynolds has provided the memo to State Auditor and Inspector Steve Burrage and Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris to facilitate an investigation of the school district.