BA School Supporters Rally Together

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Updated: 2/23/2009 6:34 pm Published: 2/23/2009 5:52 pm

Broken Arrow, OK--  Concerned teachers, parents and students came out in droves Tuesday to Broken Arrow High School, where they held what they call a "BA Proud" pep rally.

This comes in response to nearly six months of allegations leveled at school board members and business owners.

Much of the controversy surrounding the Broken Arrow School Board started in August of 2008 when former District Superintendent Dr. Jim Sisney requested an audit over the district's possible misuse of funds.

Sisney says in response the board issued a gag order and refused to authorize funds for the investigation.

He responded in September with a lawsuit against three board members, Maryanne Flippo, Sharon Whelpley and Shari Wilkins.

The following month the board voted to suspend Sisney.

Outraged taxpayers then launched an effort to recall the three board members and have a grand jury investigate.

In November, Sisney was fired and Dr. Gary Gerber was named Interim Superintendent.

Meanwhile, the board member recall effort was called off because of a lack of signatures.

In December, Broken Arrow Police began investigating allegations against the board involving bidding practices and the school district's relationship with heating and air conditioning company, Air Assurance.

Just last month, that company denied accusations of bypassing competitive bidding practices.

BA Schools spokesperson, Keith Isbell, now says preliminary results of an internal audit indicate there were no intentional violations regarding millions of dollars in business the district has given to the company.

"I think the audit showed there were some missteps along the way but having said that, most of those were blamed on human error," said Isbell.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation announced last week it's looking into a suspicious fire at a Broken Arrow storage facility, that reportedly held Air Assurance documents.

In a recently released affidavit Broken Arrow police say the fire appears to have been intentionally set.

OSBI spokesperson Jessica Brown says it will likely take the agency a few months at least to sift through hundreds of documents relating to the allegations.

From there, the District Attorney will decide whether or not to file any charges.

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