Skiatook School Superintendent Protests Audit Findings
By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
SKIATOOK, OK -- A superintendent suspended amid a spending scandal could find out on Friday if he'll get to keep his job. In the meantime, Skiatook Public School's embattled superintendent is firing back at the state audit that revealed the wasteful spending.
But his rebuttal may baffle you.
Johnson took his suspension without a word to the public. Now Gary Johnson is criticizing the state audit that might cost him his job.
Last month, the state auditor reported Skiatook Schools wasted more than half a million dollars paying double, triple, even quadruple the price for custodial supplies and security equipment.
As superintendent, it was Gary Johnson's job to approve purchases. Johnson submitted a three-page letter to the state auditor's office. He takes the auditors to task over the claims the district paid for three cases of mops but only got three mops at $180 each.
He claims Skiatook Schools never received individual mops. And that this was the district's "only mop order for the year." He also says Skiatook's 12 custodians couldn't have done their jobs with only three mops.
When questioned about Johnson's statement, the state auditor produced the mop invoices that clearly state what was delivered: three each – or three single mops – not three cases.
Johnson also disputes the auditor's calculations when it comes to some pricey vacuum cleaners. The auditor reports Skiatook schools paid up to $1,500 for vacuums that cost less than $500.
Johnson says he checked with vendors, and the sweepers really cost around $634. Even if Johnson is right, Skiatook was still paying a mark-up of up to 136 percent.
Johnson lists about a dozen similar price discrepancies. He complains the auditors used unrealistically low-priced items.
He says that makes it look like Skiatook School paid 100 to 500 percent more for items, "when it really should be a lot less," more like 30 to 200 percent.
The Skiatook School Board will meet Friday at noon for a closed door session to discuss Gary Johnson's job. They could vote to begin the process to fire him.
In a message from Trey Davis of the Oklahoma State Auditor And Inspector's Office, Davis states:
Regarding the three-quarters of a million dollar cost of the mark-ups, this figure is based on an extrapolation of the documentation. We were able to conduct item-for-item comparison on 75% of the janitorial supplies purchased and most of the security systems. Based on that information and the average markup Enos charged the district, the remaining 25 percent of the janitorial supplies and the 20 or so security systems we could not side-by-side compare put the cost to the patrons of Skiatook at about $787,000.
State Auditor Steve Burrage stands by the Skiatook Public Schools Audit released on February 23, 2010. Every finding and item detailed in the audit was carefully cross-referenced and confirmed prior to the audit's release.