OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The State Board of Education is having a meeting where they’ll discuss possible action for Epic Charter Schools.
In October, a report by the state auditor found that Epic Charter Schools owed the state $11.2 million, most of it for overpaying administrative costs.
The school hasn’t paid back the money, and the Board of Education is discussing what the next course of action will be.
In the meantime, some lawmakers have tried proposing bills to create more transparency.
“There were several bills run this session on the Democrat side, the Republican side, that would’ve said [to] education management organizations like Epic, ‘We need to know how you’re spending those dollars. These are tax payer dollars,” Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, said. “All of the bills died without ever getting a committee meeting.”
Provenzano also says it’s not good that Oklahoma tax dollars went to Epic schools in other states.
“I think they need to pay the money back, for starters, and then we really need to be able to look at how they’re spending those dollars,” she said.
She also hopes more bills about the issue will make progress next session.
“It’s concerning to have this deadline pass being told to repay these taxpayers dollars and then not doing it is even more concerning,” she said.
Epic Public Schools officials say they’ve met all deadlines to respond to the Board of Education and they’ve been having meetings with them.
Epic Assistant Superintendent Shelly Hickman released the following statement:
“We appreciate the State Board of Education taking no action today and allowing EPIC’s due process and the State Department of Education’s due diligence to continue. EPIC has not failed to meet deadlines and information requests imposed by the State Department of Education during this process. Rather, we have met all deadlines and requests and will continue to do so.
Further, EPIC was still receiving work papers from the Auditor until Jan. 29, 55 days ago today. The work papers demonstrate a large error rate with the Oct. 1 audit, justifying that it should be highly scrutinized by any party drawing anything from it.”
SHELLY HICKMAN, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENENT, EPIC CHARTER SCHOOLS
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