YUKON — Yukon Public Schools Superintendent Bill Denton has again announced he'll resign his position, marking the third time in the past year the longtime administrator has publicly said he's quitting his job.
Denton's latest announcement, which was apparently a surprise move, came Monday night during a school board meeting in Yukon.
In February, Denton said he would retire following the 2013-14 school year. Five months later, after apparently butting heads with school board members he felt were undermining his administrative decisions, Denton said he would quit once he found another job.
Yukon school board members Monday voted 4 to 1 to accept Denton's resignation, which will be effective Jan. 1.
The district's top administrator since 2007, Denton's apparent departure comes at a time when the district is under investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and named as a defendant in a bullying lawsuit filed by two parents.
Calls and emails seeking comment from Denton were not returned Tuesday.
The bullying lawsuit, filed a year ago, is pending in Canadian County District Court, records show.
The suit claims the children of Debra Wright and Dana Soupene were harassed and bullied by fellow students and former vocational agriculture instructors after an investigation into Yukon's FFA program.
The suit claims the two girls were targeted because Wright, her husband and Soupene discovered a former agriculture instructor was “skimming” on livestock purchases. In the world of agriculture education, skimming occurs when instructors overcharge students' parents for livestock to be shown at fairs and other competitions.
In the case of Debra and Randy Wright, the couple discovered they had been overcharged by about $4,000.
An investigative audit into the district's FFA program uncovered numerous instances of possible misconduct and confirmed some instructors were charging parents more than they paid for livestock.
The district's FFA program is under investigation by OSBI in connection with the skimming allegations.
The status of the skimming investigation is unclear, but sources close to the case say OSBI has submitted its report on the allegations to the Canadian County district attorney's office to consider possible criminal charges.
Yukon Public Schools lost an open records lawsuit a year ago after Denton refused to release an investigative audit of the district's FFA program
Randy and Debbie Wright battled the district for months over open records issues. The Wrights sued the school district in January 2012 after officials refused to turn over an audit of the Yukon vocational agriculture program.
The investigative report — completed by Oklahoma City attorney Mark Patzkowski — detailed several issues facing the FFA program. The document doesn't include names, but paints a picture of what was going on in one of the state's largest FFA chapters before April 2011.
A Canadian County judge ordered the school district to turn over the report in July 2012. The judge also ordered Yukon Public Schools to pay the Wrights nearly $20,000 in damages.
At the time of the judgment, Denton said he refused to turn over the report on the advice of attorneys.
“It's a relief, I know, for our board, and myself, to be able to release this,” Denton said at the time of the judge's order. “I wish more people could understand why we weren't able to do that and go against the advice of our legal counsel.”
In a statement to The Oklahoman, the Wrights said Denton “didn't do his job” while in Yukon.
The Wrights said Denton drove away an untold number of teachers and other administrators during his tenure.
“He didn't protect our children and we are elated to finally see this nightmare come to a partial end,” the couple said.
“We look forward to Yukon Public Schools moving forward and doing the right thing for our children, teachers, administrators, school employees and our community.”