The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted to formally call on Robert Everman to resign from his position as president of the board of Western Heights Public Schools, a move echoed by the local teacher’s union.
“He is a scorn on your school district and a cancer in your midst, and he needs to be removed as possible,” said Trent Smith, member of the state board said of Everman. “I regret that we can’t do more today.”
Sharon Teague, the president of the Western Heights Education Association and a teacher in the district for 40 years, said she was “surprised” and “very pleased” by Smith’s comments and the board’s unanimous vote.
“I think this is a necessary step that needs to happen to keep us moving forward,” Teague said.
Everman did not respond to two emails requesting comment Thursday.
Everman has been the president of the WHPS board of education for six years and has been at the helm of the district’s recent legal battle against the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
The state agency placed WHPS on probation following complaints of staffing shortages, financial mismanagement, a food service interruption and “disharmony within the community.” State officials took over day-to-day operations of the district the week before classes started for the 2020-2021 school year.
“I think the district will benefit tremendously if Mr. Everman were to say at the next board meeting, ‘I resign,’” said Bruce Treadaway of the Oklahoma Education Association.
Western Heights is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and an audit by the State Auditor & Inspector’s Office.
Treadaway, an OEA staff member for more than 20 years, said the legal team hired by WHPS to pursue lawsuits against the state outnumbers the attorneys at the OSDE.
“Last year alone, they paid over $250,000, I believe, in attorney fees. That was when they had two. Now they have four,” Treadaway said.
An Oklahoma County judge denied the district’s attempts to halt the state takeover. Western Heights immediately appealed the case to the Oklahoma State Supreme Court, where oral arguments are scheduled for Sept. 14.