Chairman challenges Porter to quitting duel

Thursday, January 10th 2008, 4:54 pm
By: News 9


Oklahoma City Board of Education Chairman Cliff Hudson announced Thursday that he would resign if superintendent John Porter would do likewise.

Click here for extended coverage of the school board's investigation.

"We need to get on with the business of the district for the sake of the students," Hudson wrote in a statement. "We have a great community and we are building a remarkable urban school district. Our community, students, teachers, staff, parents and citizens deserve better, and we cannot afford the continued uncertainty."

In a statement e-mailed to NEWS 9, Porter said he has no intention of leaving.

"I came to Oklahoma City because I had a passion for this job and I still do," Porter wrote. "I'm excited about the direction we're heading in and I'm committed to this district. I've learned some hard lessons, I've made some mistakes that I won't make again, but they're certainly not mistakes that should jeopardize my future and, more importantly, the future of Oklahoma City students."

Porter asked for the community to help him "in this fight."

"I'm asking parents and community leaders who believe our schools and our children are moving in the right direction under my leadership, to please contact their school board representative and share their thoughts before tomorrow's meeting," Porter wrote. "I want to thank Cliff for all he's done for this school district and I hope sometime in the future we can find a way to work together, but I plan on staying here and finishing what I started."

Cliff Hudson released another statement shortly after explaining his offer remained open to Porter.

"My desire has been to see MAPS for Kids to its completion - the project is so important for the students of our District and citizens of our community," Hudson wrote. "At the same time, it would surprise no one to know that I have long considered when would be the best time to depart from the school board."

Hudson explained his task of finding a new superintendent.

"At the beginning of last year, my primary objectives were to locate a new superintendent and focus on the new 2007 school bond proposal," Hudson wrote. "Though this volunteer task is a challenging one, along the way, I also communicated to the district's management team that I would remain through the end of my term, February 2009.  John Porter and his management team all received the same communication from me concerning this."

Hudson then made his offer again.

"The future of the District, however, means more to me than staying in this position," Hudson wrote. "I think the best for all involved is for both of us to bow out.  I hope John Porter puts the interest of Oklahoma City ahead himself. My offer of a joint resignation remains open to him."

The board voted 5-0 with one abstention Monday to suspend Porter with pay until a hearing in February into alleged financial irregularities by Porter.

Porter has denied intentionally misusing district money.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.