Former Bixby superintendent now draws $100,000 annually
Published: January 6th, 2019
The Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System (OTRS) has begun paying $8,306.58 per month ($99,678.96 annually) to a former Bixby school superintendent whose home was the scene of at least two sexual assaults involving football players, and who was forced out of office for apparently delaying reporting the incidents.
Former Bixby Superintendent Robert Kyle Wood officially retired at the end of October after receiving a year of severance pay from Bixby Public Schools. Wood was forced out of his job following public revelations about a September 2017 assault which led to charges of rape by instrumentation against several football players.
The 16-year-old victim said he had been the victim of a similar attack in 2016, also at Wood’s home. He indicated that four players sodomized him with a pool cue while others stood guard at the door. Investigators later suggested that Wood had delayed reporting the 2017 attack and apparently sought to delay or obstruct the investigation.
Wood has not been charged with any crime in connection to the probe. OTRS and other state pension systems can only deny or suspend a pension if the recipient is convicted of a felony.
Ironically, Wood reached retirement eligibility at the same time the assault was revealed, but Bixby school officials apparently granted him a year’s severance pay with benefits. He had also received $4,000 in bonuses under his contract.
Media reports at the time noted the bonus payments, as well as a $2,000 stipend in addition to salary that all Bixby school employees received. Under the resignation agreement, Wood was granted full pay and benefits through October 31, 2018. He was also to receive a single payment of $12,615 for unused sick leave and vacation time.
Overall, Wood received $167,028 for the year in which he did no work. His resignation in the wake of the scandal predated his official retirement date by a year, which also added to his pension amount, as that additional year boosted his service time and final average compensation.
An investigative affidavit filed by Bixby police said notification of the assault was “certainly delayed for days” and suggested “there may have been some initial effort by one or others to not report the incident at all.”
There were also indications that school officials launched their own internal investigation some days before law enforcement was notified, despite state laws that make it a criminal offense to not report abuse of a child. The affidavit said that Wood had finally given a staff member permission to make the report, but that such permission “directed that it be reported to a certain Bixby police officer.”
Four players were ultimately charged in the case. A Tulsa World story at the time said “nearly ten” Bixby football players were booted from the team or benched. Wood was forced to resign only after media publicity questioned the delayed report of the incidents and his role as host of the football team parties where both incidents took place.
Bixby has long been known as a “football factory” with expensive athletic facilities and a strong emphasis on sports. The school won its fourth state football title in five years in 2018.
Wood’s resignation was apparently the only action taken against any school staff or faculty members.
A school statement when he announced his resignation called it “a challenging time for Dr. Wood and the Bixby school district” and then went on to praise Wood for his accomplishments. The statement then claimed that “The media’s reporting of recent events has, in several important ways, been inaccurate, misleading and incomplete. Dr. Wood did not violate any law regarding reporting of child abuse; nor has he violated any District rule or policy.”
The statement issued by the school made no mention of the sexual assault victim.
A spokesperson for District Attorney Matt Ballard said the rape charges against four Bixby football players were granted juvenile status by a local judge in September of 2018, effectively shielding media coverage of the case.
The spokesperson was also asked if Ballard had considering filing charges against Wood or any other school officials for failing to report the 2017 assault in a timely manner. At publication time, no response had been received on that inquiry.
NOTE: This report first appeared at the website of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA)(https://www.ocpathink.org/post/former-bixby-superintendent-now-draws-100k-annually?utm_source=OCPA+Master&utm_campaign=217d7e41e6-Freedom+Flash+Nov.+3_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1acebeac5c-217d7e41e6-137156817#mike-brake).
It is reposted with permission. Mike Brake, whose stories often appear on CapitolBeatOK, is a journalist and writer who recently authored a centennial history of Putnam City Schools. He served as chief writer for Gov. Frank Keating and for then-Lt. Gov. and Congresswoman Mary Fallin, and has also served as an adjunct instructor at OSU-OKC.