Published February 6, 2016 by James Beaty and David Dishman (McAlester News-Capital)
MCALESTER, OK – Marsha Gore was fired as superintendent of McAlester Public Schools late Saturday after an extended hearing led the MPS Board of Education to conclude she violated school district policy.
The Board of Education said it was dismissing Gore because of violations of policy regarding credit card usage and personal spending. The motion to dismiss Gore was presented by Board Member Stephanie Giacomo and it was seconded by Board Member David Turner. The vote to dismiss Gore was a unanimous 4-to-0.
“Its been a long day,” Giacomo said moments after the board’s decision came shortly after 6 p.m.
School Board President Angie Nelson said “I’m relieved for everyone that we’ve made it through this process today.”
Following the decision, attorneys for the MPS Board of Education reacted.
McAlester attorney Bill Ervin represented the school district along with his son, Joe Ervin. They presented the case against Marsha Gore.
“We think the evidence justified the board’s decision,” Bill Ervin said.
Marsha Gore had been suspended with pay since November. Bill Ervin said her pay was to be cut off immediately upon announcement of her dismissal Saturday night.
Tulsa attorney John Moyer, who also represented the MPS Board of Education, sat with the school board members during the hearing.
“Everybody worked hard,” Moyer said. “This is how the process works.
“The board spent eight hours today working really hard,” Moyer said. “You’ve got some really good board members.”
Marsha Gore and her attorney, Joe E. White, both declined comment after the board announced its decision.
Members of the board spent much of the day Saturday deliberating whether to terminate Marsha Gore.
Board members began deliberations in a closed executive session around 10:04 a.m. Saturday at the Old McAlester High School. The board either deliberated or reviewed evidence continuously for the rest of the day, with only a short break.
Board members took a break in the proceedings at approximately 1 p.m. to reschedule a termination hearing for Gore’s husband, suspended MPS Plant Operations Director Joseph “Skip” Gore, until Friday, Feb. 12 and Saturday, Feb 13, set for 3 p.m. both days, also at the Old McAlester High School. The board then went back behind closed doors, either to continue reviewing evidence or resume deliberations before reaching a decision.
The decision to dismiss Marsha Gore came after both Marsha and Skip Gore were suspended with pay and benefits in November. They were suspended following an investigation intospending at the MPS Central Office over the use of school credit cards and other issues.
Attorneys on both sides finished calling witnesses and presented their closing arguments Friday night.Follow @FortySixNews