Two TPS Board Members Call For Forensic Audit Of District Finances

Friday, July 1st 2022, 10:46 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

At least two Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education members are calling for a forensic audit of the district's finances.

The concerns come after Superintendent Deborah Gist announced there had been an issue related to the management of a contractor two years ago.

Gist said when she recently found out about the issue, she took personnel action and contacted the district attorney.

Some board members said more needs to be done.

Gist said three weeks ago, the district identified an issue within the talent department related to the management of a contractor.

Gist said the employee involved no longer works at TPS and that the district had an outside attorney do an independent review.

Gist also said the money involved came from private donations but would not say how much.

"It's a relatively small amount of money, but anyone who knows me knows how deeply committed I am being a good steward of funds that are provided to us," said Gist.

Board members Dr. Jerry Griffin and E'Lena Ashley are calling for a forensic audit to investigate any possible fraud and wrongdoing within the district.

In a statement to News On 6, Ashley said, "Unfortunately, the board was kept in the dark about the contract irregularities."

Griffin said an annual audit isn't enough.

"An annual audit is meant to see if you're following financial accounting principles,” explained Griffin. “It's not meant to discover fraud, so whatever it is that happened, and I don't know the particulars of what happened, but what happened has gone through at least one annual audit and maybe two annual audits."

Griffin is asking for a vote on the forensic audit to be on the agenda as soon as possible.

"I think it's time to do it because there is now the evidence that something's happened,” said Griffin. “When one thing happens, there's probably something else, so you never know."

Gist said what is next will be up to the district attorney's office, who has said it has not received the Tulsa police report on the case.

Griffin said the public has the option to call for a grand jury investigation.