Grand Jury Report Blasts Leadership, Calls For Criminal Charges At Skiatook Schools

Monday, June 28th 2010, 5:16 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

SKIATOOK, OK -- The grand jury investigating Skiatook Public Schools handed down two criminal indictments and blasted the district's interim superintendent over the weekend.

6/26/2010 Related Story: Grand Jury Investigating Skiatook Schools Hands Down Two Criminal Indictments

The grand jurors say they have no confidence in the district's leadership.

When Skiatook Schools' former superintendent, Gary Johnson, was forced out of the top job amidst allegations of wasting half a million dollars, the school board tapped Steve Williams to fill his chair.

Now the grand jury, called to investigate the school district, is questioning Williams' ability to do the job.

"We were very worried whenever the school board against everyone's wishes said hey let's appointed him interim superintendent," said Rob Ridenour, a Skiatook parent.

Rob Ridenour is part of a group of Skiatook parents who gathered signatures calling for a grand jury investigation into the district. In its report, the grand jury called for criminal charges.

Read the Skiatook grand jury report

And they also say they have no confidence in Steve Williams. The grand jury claims he didn't understand the duties of his job, didn't know enough about the district's finances and didn't know how to track federal grants.

Jurors also point out when Skiatook schools was overspending, paying up to $1,500 for vacuums that cost less than $500, Williams never confronted his old boss Gary Johnson.

"I think some of the statements they made are true," said Jason Willingham, a Skiatook parent

"We've tried to point out to the board that he was the guy standing right alongside the superintendent Gary Johnson when all of this was going on," Ridenour said.

But the grand jury didn't limit their stinging criticism to just Williams. They also issued an accusation to oust at least one public official.

"I can't remember an accusation for ouster ever in Tulsa County since I've been here," said Tim Harris, Tulsa County District Attorney.

That accusation is sealed just like the indictments until the subjects are notified. The News On 6 called the school district to ask administrators about the report and no one answered. The News On 6 also emailed Steve Williams and a board member, but did not get a response by deadline.