State Auditor Office Releases Chickasha Grade Tampering, Misuse Of Funds Findings

Thursday, January 10th 2019, 11:04 pm
By: Bonnie Campo

The state auditor released his findings in a months-long investigation into Chickasha Public Schools at Thursday’s school board meeting. 

Parents of the district previously accused CPS of grade tampering, misuse of funds and other items.

The original allegation was that thousands of grades had been manipulated, as well as student attendance.

Read Related Story: OSBI Requested To Investigate Allegations Of Grade-Tampering In Chickasha  

State Auditor Gary Jones told parents he found no evidence that would lead to charges in this investigation.

“I’ve sent a letter that says the investigation has been closed. The attorney general says they plan not taking any action,” said Jones.

Months ago, parents gathered signatures to petition the state auditor’s office for an investigation. The OSBI, and Oklahoma Department of Education was also involved.

In terms of nepotism and misuse of funds, the investigation found there was no evidence to support either of those claims.

“It was handled in the proper manner. There was nothing improper about that,” said Jones.

However, the findings involving grade manipulation angered parents and a former teacher. They said one teacher was specially asked by a principal to change grades.

“If you wanna know the truth, PettyJohn (teacher) was asked to change grades by (Principal) Pontikos. I don’t care who believes me, I know that’s a fact,” that former teacher said.

In the end, grade changes were made, but investigators said that’s because PettyJohn left early at the end of the school year without turning in grades. They add that principal tried to fix those grades, but things were miscalculated based on a curve used in the class. 

Jones said this was because the teacher in question, and the principal did not get along.

The investigation cites that protocol was ignored. A hard copy of the grades was available but went unchecked, because the principal did not call the teacher. 

“A lot of fighting going on with in the school system, when the new superintendent came in. There were factions of people that supported the new superintendent, and people who didn’t,” said Jones.

Many parents, school board members and parents are just ready to move on.

“Let’s make this report finding final. Let’s move past this. I beg of you,” said one woman who took the podium.

The superintendent confirms there is a forensic audit that should be finished by the end of the month.

The school is also the target of a few lawsuits.