1. NO, we are NOT collecting signatures for a referendum vote on the taxes passed during this session by our legislature. Yes, there is a group to do that - Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite. Have we shared their information? YES. But here's the kicker - if we wanted you to sign their referendum petition, we'd ASK YOU TO SIGN THE PETITION. We wouldn't spend the time to create a petition to do it without your permission. That's simply silly information spread by people who will not get behind the idea of taxpayer - and student - accountability.
2. We've asked to have the OSDE audited for YEARS. If you don't believe me, check here and here. We asked Dr. Barresi to audit the OSDE before she was Superintendent. She promised she would - she even told Pat McGuigan at Capitol Beat.
Barresi said that one of her first orders of business will be to ensure that critical dollars are getting into the state’s classrooms. She said she will immediately direct a comprehensive division-by-division analysis of the Department of Education. And she’ll be working to contract with an independent auditor to conduct a financial and performance audit of the department.It's true that she did ask for a specific audit regarding the way conferences were paid for by the OSDE, but that was all that was ever done on her watch.
Mrs. Hofmeister was asked that same question as well, it's sad that I don't remember exactly what she said, but a friend is looking for an interview in which she was asked - so we'll see.
WHAT ABOUT AUDITING THE OSDE?
HB2311 by McCall and Schultz created the Agency Performance and Accountability Act, establishing a new Agency Performance and Accountability Commission which would "provide for certain agency audits", in 2017.
Headed by Bob Sullivan, a former GOP Gubernatorial Candidate and Oil Industry executive from Tulsa, the 10 member commission had its first meeting December 7th. The Commission is currently preparing bids for the first round of audits, though bids will not be awarded until the legislature funds the Commission - a $5 million yearly appropriation.
Unfortunately, the RFP for the first round of agencies to be audited, DOES NOT INCLUDE THE OSDE. From the RFP:
This is the list of agencies that are requested to be completed in the first year.
Oklahoma Tax Commission
Office of Management and Enterprise Services
Department of Corrections
Department of Public Safety
District Attorneys Council
Office of Juvenile Affairs
The remaining agency list will be provided at a later date.
Though the bid is to close May 3rd, if the money has not been appropriated by the legislature to fund the Commission, no audits will be done until that happens.
In the meantime, when someone says they can't sign a petition to Audit the OSDE because the Accountability Commission will do it, you tell them they are WRONG and then tell them why we must continue to press this issue if we want taxpayer accountability for public education funds.