School board violated state law, DA rules

Monday, January 7th 2008, 11:56 am
By: News 9


Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater ruled Friday the Oklahoma City school board violated the state's Open Meeting Act during Monday's executive session.

During that meeting, the board suspended Superintendent John Q. Porter with pay.

Officials said Friday's ruling could overturn Porter's suspension. Prater ordered the board to make public the minutes of Monday's executive session and also nullified their decisions during that session.

School District Attorney Robert McCampbell released a statement shortly after Prater's findings were made public.

"We appreciate the District Attorney's prompt review and will act in accordance with his statement," McCampbell said. "As we said before, there are no excuses. We apologize to the community, the district and Superintendent Porter."



Original story

The Oklahoma City school board suspended Superintendent John Porter Monday during a hearing in which he was accused of financial irregularities.

Emotions were high as the board voted unanimously, 5-0 with one abstention to suspend Porter with pay until a Feb. 6 hearing on the allegations.

The board met in executive session for about two hours before the vote.

In an itemized document Porter faces 21 separate allegations including awarding a $365,000 reading program contract without seeking competitive bids and using taxpayer funds to reimburse himself.

"Obtaining reimbursement in taxpayer funds for his personal air travel in the amount of more than $5,000 and obtaining reimbursement in taxpayer funds for first class air travel," said Attorney Robert McCampbell.

Porter denies intentionally misusing district funds.

McCampbell says Porter also took about $2,400 dollars from the school district's activity fund for personal expenses and was reimbursed about $5,000 for personal air travel.

Porter also allegedly missed work without taking vacation days and is accused of having  unreasonably negative relationships with some principals in the district.

Porter said afterward that he may have made mistakes but never intentionally misused district money and has offered to reimburse the district.