By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A Green Country school district's wasteful spending raised red flags almost a year ago. An independent auditor sounded the alarm at Skiatook Public Schools last year.
After a look at the district's 2008 audit, claims of a half million dollars wasted should not have been a surprised.
"No, that was a real surprise," said Skiatook parent Tiffany Brummett. "I really didn't think that was taking place.
But should it have been a shock?
Sloppy record-keeping; missing tax records, and overpaying for products – those problems didn't come out of the state audit released Tuesday.
However, all of those accusations were in an audit released last March.
Tulsa accountant Jack Jenkins pointed out Skiatook Schools paid E & E Sales about $13,000 for carpet cleaners back in September of 2008.
The district discovered they were the wrong kind, so the carpet cleaners were returned.
E & E Sales replaced them with four more cleaners that $3,000 less.
According to the audit, neither the district nor E & E sales realized that $3,000 hadn't been returned to Skiatook schools. The auditor asked about the money, and the district was finally reimbursed four months later.
The audit also claimed the district bought "far more" custodial supplies than other districts its size - at a mark-up of about 100 to 200 percent.
Superintendent Dr. Gary Johnson wrote a letter last March, responding to these allegations. In the letter, he wrote that "they felt the district was receiving a good deal."
He claimed getting four cleaners for the price of three - plus a $3,000 refund - led the district to believe it got a "good deal."
As far as the mark-ups, the superintendent said "I would never intentionally allow a vendor to mark up product 100 percent."
He repeatedly says the district bought supplies from E & E sales because it "believed" it was getting "excellent products" and "superior service."
Johnson said he informed the school board that they weren't always getting the lowest price and bids were not taken.
The auditor also reports Skiatook's Superintendent Gary Johnson called the owner of E & E Sales, Rick Enos, an old friend he'd known for 20 years.
Johnson says he never called Enos a friend. The superintendent says he'd done business with Enos since his days as a principal 20 years ago.