School board questioned over Porter expenses

Thursday, March 6th 2008, 10:08 pm
By: News 9

By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

John Porter did nothing criminal, concluded a report from District Attorney David Prater.

The DA's 278-page report, however, did state the former school superintendent acted like a "bully" and his expense report file was "questionable."

And while that behavior led to his suspension and eventual resignation, the way the school board and district threw money at Porter before he officially started his job is just as questionable, stated the report.

Porter resigned two months ago amid 21 allegations, ranging from improper spending to mistreating employees.

The DA investigation cleared former Oklahoma City schools Superintendent John Porter of any criminal wrongdoing. 

Kathleen Kennedy is with Oklahoma City Public Schools. According to her, the school district will review all matters surrounding the Porter incident.

The review includes why the school board paid Porter $991 per day in consulting fees for two months prior to him taking office. Other areas under review are: why the district and board agreed to give Porter a $2,000 per month living stipend before moving to Oklahoma City; and what the reasoning was behind reimbursing hundreds of dollars in cell phone and car rental fees Porter incurred long before his contract began.

"Everything from employees to spending, and everything we do is being taken a look at," Kennedy said.

While Porter and former School Board President Cliff Hudson are now gone, Kennedy couldn't say whether any public school employees, including the district's Chief Financial Officer will lose their jobs over the questionable spending practices.

"That's a personnel matter, and we are not allowed to disclose personnel matters," Kennedy said.

One issue the district did not want to address was the possibility that the African American community may call foul now that it's clear Porter did nothing wrong legally.

Instead the district said the new school board and new school administration want to focus on the future of Oklahoma City schools.

The district did say however that the school board is now meeting and discussing how to go about hiring a new permanent school superintendent.

The DA's investigation report is about 300 pages long. The full report is available in PDF format here. Note: The report is 13 MB and could take a while to download.