Open records are at the heart of dispute between Yukon couple, school district

Randy and Debbie Wright, of Yukon, Oklahoma, weren't open records “experts” a couple of years ago. That changed when they began to suspect they were being taken advantage of by a Yukon Public Schools instructor.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: February 9, 2013 at 1:14 am •  Published: February 11, 2013

Denton said the district always has complied with the Wrights' open records requests, although he admitted the volume of the documents involved has strained his staff.

“They left us no choice,” Debbie Wright said.

The Wrights prevailed.

In July, nearly a year after it was completed, the report was released but not to the Wrights. Instead, the district posted the information on its website.

Months later, a judge also ordered the school district to reimburse the couple $18,000 for attorneys' fees.

The Wrights have filed a lawsuit against Bow, who quit his job with the school district in May 2011. School district emails obtained by the Wrights' attorney show that Bow confessed to Patzkowski that he overcharged the Wrights to make up for financial losses the program suffered when two calves died unexpectedly.

Randy Wright said he and his wife have tried unsuccessfully to work things out with Yukon officials since they discovered they had been overcharged.

“I've asked 17 times to sit across the table and work this out,” he said. “But they don't want to do that. They want to have secrets, I guess.”

But the Wrights aren't giving up. They now are submitting records requests about bidding procedures, financial practices and other areas they have concerns about.

On Thursday, the Wrights received another in a long line of similar letters from the school district. Inside was notification that records they had requested were available for pick up at district headquarters.

“Randy usually goes,” Debbie Wright said.

by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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