Oklahoma Democrats demand governor ask for education secretary’s resignation

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Oklahoma Democrats demand that Gov. Kevin Stitt ask his education secretary to resign.

The Democrats blame Oklahoma Education Secretary Ryan Walters for some poorly spent COVID-19 relief money, stemming from a report from Oklahoma Watch.

The investigation reports Walters oversaw a program that gave parents money to buy school supplies. While some of it happened, many parents used the money to buy televisions, PlayStations, furniture and even Christmas trees.

Walters, who is running for state superintendent, reportedly told Florida company Class Wallet to allow parents to spend the money on anything from approved vendors.

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Democrats said Walters failed to protect taxpayer money.

State Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City, called on Stitt to ask Walters for his resignation. State Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa, criticized Stitt for standing by Walters.

“He has attacked the media. He has attacked school boards. And, as of this morning, he attacked textbook companies all in an effort to deflect from his failure of leadership,” Waldron said Wednesday. “And through it all, the governor has approved of and condoned his actions.”

Stitt’s office said, “The governor has no intention of asking for Secretary Walters’ resignation. Secretary Walters is doing a great job fighting for parents’ right to be in charge of their child’s education and advocating for funding students, not government-controlled systems.”

Fugate said a federal audit is being done on the voucher spending program.