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State Auditor: Skiatook Schools' Wasteful Spending May Not Be Isolated Case

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Steve Burrage blasted Skiatook Schools for paying double, triple and quadruple the price for supplies and equipment. The state auditor says Skiatook's board is not alone and he wants to put other school districts on notice. Steve Burrage blasted Skiatook Schools for paying double, triple and quadruple the price for supplies and equipment. The state auditor says Skiatook's board is not alone and he wants to put other school districts on notice.
"I strongly encourage everyone in a position of governance, every board member, with a fiduciary responsibility to act on behalf of taxpayers to get your house in order," said Steve Burrage, State Auditor. "I strongly encourage everyone in a position of governance, every board member, with a fiduciary responsibility to act on behalf of taxpayers to get your house in order," said Steve Burrage, State Auditor.

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

SKIATOOK, OK -- Skiatook's school board will meet next Tuesday to discuss the audit that revealed the school wasted half a million dollars. The state auditor says Skiatook's board is not alone and he wants to put other school districts on notice.

"I strongly encourage everyone in a position of governance, every board member, with a fiduciary responsibility to act on behalf of taxpayers to get your house in order," said Steve Burrage, State Auditor.

2/25/2010  Related Story: Earlier Skiatook Public School Audit Raised Red Flags

The state auditor says disorder seems to be rampant and it's your money they're wasting. Burrage blasted Skiatook Schools for paying double, triple and quadruple the price for supplies and equipment. He says school leaders could have gotten a better deal on trash cans, if they went to a nearby big box store.

Burrage says Skiatook may not be an isolated case.

His office is also investigating Broken Arrow Public Schools about accusations The News On 6 first reported about eighteen months ago. Broken Arrow's former superintendent, Jim Sisney, accused the district of giving preferential treatment to a heating and cooling company. He was fired and filed a lawsuit against the owner of that company and three school board members. The board members filed a countersuit claiming defamation.

10/17/2008  Related Story: Jim Sisney-Broken Arrow School Board Timeline

The auditor is also looking into Boynton School district, which reportedly is in danger of not having enough money to finish the school year. Seminole, Wagoner and Butner are also under the microscope.

The auditor's office will only say it's reviewing allegations of missing school activity money, free and reduced meal fund discrepancies and other claims of missing cash.

Burrage says school boards across the state are not providing proper oversight.

"You know good people serve on school boards and they have good intentions, but they need to ask questions," said Burrage.

"There's no shame in having to ask questions, but there's a lot of shame in the waste that occurs when you fail to ask."

The state auditor shares his expertise during school board training sessions. Lawmakers gave Burrage the power to select districts randomly and do a risk assessment to figure out areas where they might be weak, but he says there was no money attached to actually do the work.

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