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At the former campus of the defunct SeeWorth Academy, a moving company on contract to Oklahoma City Public Schools started loading out equipment destined to many points around the district.

Per a court order from Wednesday, all keys were turned over to OKCPS to allow them to gather equipment that, by law, now belongs to them since they were the sponsor of the closed charter school.

Sorting old and new

It was a busy place with the new resident charter school, Sovereign Community School, occupying the main building that once housed SeeWorth as equipment and furniture that had been sorted started being loaded.

Sovereign Community Schools has no relation to the former SeeWorth Academy and was allowed to use the campus near NE 122nd and N. Kelley Avenue once SeeWorth, Inc. decided to keep the lease to the property.

Principal Matt Wilson told Free Press that their staff had spent the weekend carefully sorting out their items from the items that now belonged to OKCPS.

SeeWorth
Computers used by former SeeWorth academy wait to be loaded out to different parts of OKCPS. The computers were purchased with state School Improvement Grant funds appropriated from taxes. Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press

The equipment being taken to other needy locations around the district had been purchased with funds in SeeWorth’s general accounts which meant that it belonged to the sponsoring public school district once the school was closed.

Under the watchful eye of Andy Evans and Ronald Grant, the move was progressing smoothly.

Evans is a staff member with the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center which has been contracted to coordinate the closure of SeeWorth Academy charter school according to state school law.

SeeWorth
Andy Evans (blue shirt) watches over loading operations at the campus of the former SeeWorth Academy Monday. Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press

Grant is the Charter Schools Administrator for OKCPS, a position created this year. In past years the administrator in charge of supervising the district’s sponsored charters had other duties that kept them spread thinly on a functional basis.

Court order

The court order handed down by Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong basically forced the SeeWorth corporation that had run the school to do what their board had agreed to do at the end of June.

Retaining the lease and prohibiting OKCPS from retrieving equipment were among several reversals of the erratic board that made agreements earlier in the summer only to back out on later.

SeeWorth loadout
One of over six busses SeeWorth, Inc. purchased and now will go to OKCPS sit waiting to be driven to the OKCPS operations center Monday. Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press

SeeWorth, Inc. had agreed to surrender their lease on the property from the McLaughlin Family Foundation and allow OKCPS to establish an alternative school under the SeeWorth Academy name.

But, after the district appointed a principal and assembled their staff and faculty, SeeWorth, Inc. notified the district with only 17 days to go before the start of school that they would be keeping the lease.

OKCPS then had to rush to set up a new location at the former Putnam Heights Elementary School. In addition, officials with the SeeWorth board would not allow the district to retrieve any of the equipment at the SeeWorth campus that, by law, belonged to the district.

Misspent funds

The order also commanded the corporation to stop spending funds from the school year that ended June 30.

SeeWorth board has contended that an irregular “corporate account” was donations and shouldn’t revert back to OKCPS.

SeeWorth
Athletic equipment used by the former SeeWorth Academy waits to be loaded to other athletic facilities in OKCPS Monday. Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press

But, SeeWorth had intermingled activity funds with what the board said were donations. Because of that, all of the funds in the account fell under the strict activity fund state laws.

Evans discovered in July that some former staff of the closed school had still been getting paid and that a $30,000 cashiers check had been drafted and given to a bus company that had sold new busses to the charter.



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