- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) - Members of the McAlester school board are hearing evidence that could lead to the dismissal of the district’s superintendent, who has been suspended with pay amid allegations she spent school money on personal items.

A four-member panel of board members opened a “due process termination hearing” Tuesday to hear from witnesses who say Superintendent Marsha Gore used a district credit card to pay personal expenses. After the hearing resumed Thursday, a pair of district finance department employees said they, too, had seen irregular behavior, according to the McAlester News-Capital (https://bit.ly/1S5tRE5 ).

Gayla Campbell, the financial custodian, said Gore would spend money from the account before providing a purchase order and moved the proceeds from the sale of a dump truck from one account to another after the newspaper raised questions about it. Campbell also said that, after compiling district financial records for the newspaper to review, Gore removed credit card records from the stack.

Pamela Barnett, a clerk, said Gore had told her in advance of an out-of-town school finance training session that they shouldn’t ask how to do their job better and that they should not contact the state Board of Education about any financial concerns.

“She didn’t want us to ask any questions,” Barnett told the board.

“Did you think that was normal,” board lawyer Bill Ervin asked.

“Not really,” Barnett replied.

The clerk said one $110 charge was made at Gore’s hairdresser, and that Gore reimbursed the district.

An auditor hired by the district said Tuesday that Gore had used a school credit card for personal use.

The board is also seeking to fire Gore’s husband Skip, the district’s plant operations manager. A board member said last year that he believed Skip Gore to be involved.

The Gores deny the allegations. Marsha Gore testified previously she had not used a district credit card for personal purposes. Her lawyer said Gore has reimbursed the school for any items improperly billed.


This story has been corrected to show the correct spelling of the member newspaper.


Information from: McAlester News-Capital, https://www.mcalesternews.com

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