While the agenda for the Nov. 9, 2015, Luther Board of Education is lengthy, one particular item is causing quite a stir. It’s item #21 …
21. Discussion and possible vote to disavow actions and communications of school board member Charles DeFuria in relation to claim of Oklahoma City Public Schools for re-payment of sinking fund monies.
We talked to Mr. DeFuria, an analyst with the IRS who has been on the Luther School board for about 2.5 years. He said he didn’t know anything about the agenda item until he saw it on the agenda. He does confirm he has conducted what he considers due diligence research on the issue with officials with LPS, Oklahoma City Public Schools and even the State Department of Education.
At issue, in part, is a dispute over $193,000 that OKCPS claims is owed by LPS over ad valorem (property) taxes that were paid into a sinking fund for bond indebtedness payment. DeFuria indicated the property taxes in question are in the western part of LPS near Lake Hiwassee. This issue is over a decade old.
The Luther Register asked for a comment from OKCPS and received this statement from Mark Myers, Director of Media Relations:
“The Oklahoma City Public School District has been in contact with the Luther School District regarding the funding issue. We have provided information, and continue working with Luther officials to resolve this issue. Our goal is to cooperate keeping in mind the best interests of students, and taxpayers,” said Myers.
We also asked LPS Superintendent Sheldon Buxton for a comment and he declined, “I will release a formal statement but will not voice comment until our legal counsel advises. We will let the agenda item speak for itself this evening,” said Dr. Buxton.