Judge To Rule On Western Heights Emergency Petition

Wednesday, July 28th 2021, 7:02 am
By: Colby Thelen


Weeks before the start of the school year, the Oklahoma State Board of Education is taking the Western Heights Public School District to court. 

On Wednesday, a judge is expected to rule on an emergency petition from the state board that orders the district to acknowledge its authority. 

Legal counsel for the state board of education, Brad Clark, said this is something that has never happened before. The ongoing saga began after Western Heights was placed on probation back in April. 

The probation conditions included addressing several issues including staffing shortages and improperly maintained fire suppression systems. 

While Clark points out that the state has implemented probationary periods for other districts, he admits it never ended up in court. 

District leaders said they would not adhere to the conditions of the probation, saying they didn’t recognize the state’s authority. 

"The district has refused to recognize the state's authority to this point, and in fact have said they will not recognize that authority until there's an order from the court," Clark said on Thursday. 

Last month the state removed the teaching certificate of Western Heights superintendent Mannix Barnes and appointed an interim superintendent to take over. 

Shortly after, the Western Heights school board voted to appoint its own. 

A judge is expected to rule on the emergency petition at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon.