Superintendents' Critics Confront Western Heights School Board

Tuesday, October 29th 2019, 9:00 am
By: Ashley Holden

Frustrated parents and employees in the Western Heights School District packed a special school board meeting on Monday. 
Many are calling for an investigation into their new superintendent, Mannix Barnes, and concerns surrounding his hiring and management. 
A list of concerns posted to Facebook listed issues like employee pay, transportation for students and overcrowded classrooms.
Another issue on the list was concern over the relationship between Supt. Barnes and the school board.  
Robert Everman is a person on the board. This past summer News 9 reported that Everman had previously worked for Barnes at Onefire Holding Company. He also worked under Barnes at Lucky Star Casino, and they served on at least two boards in Oklahoma City together.
News 9 requested Supt. Barnes' resume and application from the Dept. of Education.
Everman sent in a letter confirming Barnes' employment as CEO and President of the Lupus Foundation of Oklahoma. There's also a letter of recommendation from the now former Supt. Joe Kitchens.
Kitchens, now serves as an adviser to Supt. Barnes. When he's needed, News 9 was told he makes $200 a day
People at the special meeting, like Wayne Sissons, told News 9 how they felt about the board and their outside relationships.
"I said something to him at a meeting a year and a half ago that the good ole boys system is working." said Sissons. 
Despite this and other concerns raised at the special board meeting, the district's Chief of Staff, Jack Herron, came to the superintendent's defense.
"What Mr. Barnes has done up until now, I have watched for two moths, is take advantage and change some things that need to be changed and need to be done to straighten out his school, Said Herron. "And that's why he has me working here and other persons that he brought in."