Governor Kevin Stitt has called for a special audit of the Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) at the request of two Board members. State Auditor Cindy Byrd will conduct the audit over whether TPS mishandled public funds.
Ryan Walters, Republican candidate for State Superintendent and current Secretary of Education, issued the following statement:
“We’ve had enough. The Tulsa Public School administrator has continued to blatantly violate the law, and Governor Stitt’s demand for transparency is extremely important. TPS has [also] continued to ignore state law that prohibits public schools from teaching Critical Race Theory,” Walters said.
“Indoctrination will not be taught in our classrooms, and our children will not be the victims of the left’s woke agenda. Woke policies are not welcome in Oklahoma and consequences will be taken against any school district that chooses to violate HB 1775,” Walters added.
Superintendent Deborah Gist told the Tulsa World she welcomed outside scrutiny, including by the State Auditor’s Office, but she thinks taxpayers should “consider the source” of Thursday’s state audit request, which she called “unfortunate” and “political theater.”
Gist said she is confident in her administration’s use of pandemic relief funds and defended her handling of the ongoing issue with a TPS vendor contract.
“There’s certainly a good reason for everyone in Tulsa to have a question about this situation. I’m concerned about this situation, which is why I have acted decisively and swiftly at every moment, never wasting a day, working tirelessly to determine what was going on and to resolve the situation and including the proper authorities the moment it seemed that was necessary,” Gist told the fawning daily newspaper.
Gov. Kevin Stitt requested a special audit of the district saying, “As one of the largest districts in the state, TPS received over $200 million in COVID federal relief funds. TPS also stayed closed the longest — over 300 days. Board members, parents, students and teachers deserve to know how that money was spent. I’m also concerned that TPS may have violated state law, specifically HB 1775, which bans [Oklahoma] public schools from teaching critical race theory,” Stitt added.