Broken Arrow School Board Calls For State Audit

Wednesday, January 14th 2009, 9:54 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Claims of fraud surface in the scandal surrounding Broken Arrow Public Schools.   And, those claims have the school board calling for a state audit.  A group of taxpayers says the district broke the law and misspent school money.  Now they want the cash back.  The school board held a special meeting on Wednesday night asking their lawyer to take action.

Once again, the district's dealings with heating and cooling company, Air Assurance, are back under the microscope.  The taxpayers' claim says the district gave Air Assurance a blank check to avoid competitive bidding.  And, the company did work and billed the school district, without the district asking for it.     

The claim is similar to what ousted superintendent Dr. Jim Sisney has been saying for months.  And, the former Broken Arrow superintendent tells The News On 6 he's convinced crimes were committed.

"We had had a flagpole put in Broken Arrow Schools and there was even labor paid for, but the flagpole that hadn't been put in," said Dr. Jim Sisney, ousted superintendent.

Sisney says he asked how you could pay for something, that didn't exist.  And, that's when he said his career un-raveled.

Related stories: Dr Jim Sisney-Broken Arrow School Board Timeline

When you talk to some members of the Broken Arrow School Board and others who whisper, you hear a much different story.  They speak of a superintendent who was a bully, unprofessional, and couldn't get along with his board.

But, Sisney says despite appearances, this was no superintendent-school board spat.

"The bottom line was it was the pending investigation of, in my opinion, crimes that were committed," said Dr. Jim Sisney.

Sisney has long questioned the district's competitive bidding practices, particularly dealings with Air Assurance.  But now, he's going a step further.

"In my opinion the documents that I looked at, the documents that I looked at, and conversations that I had, and the information I know, crimes were committed," said Dr. Jim Sisney.

Sisney won't name names.  And, he didn't give The News On 6 the documents that back up his claims.  But, he says he did turn over what he knows to an investigative agency.  And, he believes what went on behind closed doors in Broken Arrow is being covered up.

"I feel in my heart of hearts given that they were my supervisors that the facts and issues were not allowed to come out and have not to this day," said Dr. Jim Sisney.

Despite Sisney's claims, no one in Broken Arrow Public Schools has been prosecuted for any crimes.  And, no wrongdoing has been proven yet.  But, Sisney is still waging a wrongful termination lawsuit against the school board.

The board did vote on Wednesday night to start the process of getting a state audit.