YUKON — The superintendent of Yukon Public Schools said he plans to resign once he finds a new job.
Superintendent Bill Denton's comments came on the heels of a contentious school board meeting Monday night in Yukon.
Denton said some school board members are undermining his personnel recommendations nearly every chance they get, he told local reporters after the meeting.
“I just don't believe in treating people that way and I don't believe in working for a board that doesn't have confidence in my recommendations,” Denton told the Yukon Review. “As soon as I find a position, I'll be resigning.”
This isn't the first time in recent months that Denton, 66, has publicly discussed leaving Yukon Public Schools, a district he's headed up since 2007.
In February, he announced that he'd be retiring following the 2013-14 school year.
At the time, Denton said he'd been considering retiring for some time. He said the chief “negative” reason he'd decided to leave education after four-plus decades is what he described as “the attacks on public schools.”
“The reduction of the funding for five straight years … that's what brought me to this point,” Denton said. “We're operating schools with 20 percent less money than we had five years ago … and they continue to take away revenue sources.”
If Denton does find a new job and resign from his six-figure position at Yukon Public Schools, he will do so while the district is the focus of a bullying lawsuit and being scrutinized by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
According to OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown, an investigation into Yukon schools' vocational agriculture program has been ongoing for some time.
The state agency was investigating allegations that former agriculture instructors overcharged parents — some of them by several thousand dollars — for livestock, a practice known as “skimming” in the FFA world. All of the agriculture teachers allegedly involved have left or are planning to leave the district.
Yukon Public Schools also is being sued by two parents who allege the district fostered an unhealthy learning environment for their daughters, who they claim were bullied by FFA students and instructors in the past two or so years.
And in October, a Canadian County judge ordered Yukon Public Schools to pay Randy and Debbie Wright nearly $20,000 in attorney's fees following the resolution of an open records lawsuit.
The couple had been seeking a copy of an investigative report into the district's FFA program, which was prepared by a lawyer hired by Yukon schools. For months, Denton refused to turn over the report on the advice of an attorney, he would later say.
When he announced his retirement in February, Denton said the lawsuits and OSBI investigation had nothing to do with his desire to leave Yukon Public Schools.
“I really can't say that was a part of it,” he said. “This job … you've always got issues and things you've got to deal with in your school, in your community or statewide.
“It's just part of the nature of the job. That's really not the major component.”
I just don't believe in treating people that way and I don't believe in working for a board that doesn't have confidence in my recom
mendations. As soon as I find a position, I'll be resigning.”
Yukon Public Schools Superintendent Bill Denton,