A supplemental report reveals a slush fund used by high-ranking education department officials had been operational since the mid-1990s. Here's a look at some key moments along the ways:
Sandy Garrett becomes the first woman to head Oklahoma's education department.
A post office box is opened by an education department official under the name Encyclo-Media. Donations solicited by education department employees are sent to the box. The physical address associated with the post office box is the same as the education department's office building.
A financial audit of the Oklahoma Curriculum Improvement Commission reveals a bank account that wasn't there in previous years – the “Leadership” account – has a balance of roughly $36,000. The explanation of the new revenue stream is listed as “summer conference.”
A second post office box in Oklahoma City is opened by an employee of the state education department. Donations, which are actually made to the Oklahoma Curriculum Improvement Commission, are sent to the post office box. The physical address associated with the post office box is the same as the education department's building.
A financial audit of the Oklahoma Curriculum Improvement Commission reveals a second bank account – the Encyclo-Media account – has a balance of roughly $84,000. It's the first time the account has shown up in the nonprofit's audit report.
Dr. Cindy Koss and Dr. Jennifer Watson announce to the Oklahoma Curriculum Improvement Commission board that two bank accounts associated with the nonprofit had been hidden from them for years. The state education department begins the process of terminating its relationship with the OCIC.
The education department enters into a contract with the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. A month earlier, yet another unofficial bank account had been set up for donations secured by education department employees.
Funds are transferred from the old bank accounts, which were still under the control of the Oklahoma Curriculum Improvement Commission, to the new account belonging to the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.
Sandy Garrett leaves office after two decades as superintendent of public instruction.
Media reports surface that Garrett requested her email account be deleted shortly before leaving office.
New Superintendent Janet Barresi requests an investigation into travel claims by a former department employee. During the investigation, auditors discovered a “slush” fund used by education department employees to pay for alcohol, bands and food at conferences.
A supplemental report detailing the education department's slush fund – and many former officials who were involved – is released to the public.
Source: Oklahoma State Department of Education Supplemental Investigative Report, Release Date – March 7, 2012