Governor Urges Oklahomans Not To Rush To Judgment Over Epic Charter Schools
Governor Kevin Stitt is urging Oklahomans to hold off on passing judgment on Epic Charter Schools until an investigation is complete.
The OSBI is looking into whether Epic inflated student enrollment to dupe the state out of millions of dollars.
Governor Stitt is asking for a full briefing on the investigation from the OSBI and wants an investigative audit of Epic, but he says he’s not rushing to make any judgments and he says neither should you.
“Obviously you’re innocent until proven guilty so these are just allegations, so I’ve asked the OSBI to give me a briefing on exactly what’s going on with their investigation, so I’ll wait and see what the facts are.” Stitt said.
Governor Stitt said he’s taking the allegations seriously though. Epic is regularly audited and is overseen by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board and the State Department of Education.
“We certainly want to look at our procedures and see how, if there is some misappropriation of funds, or there is some kind of fraud involved with how people are determining the number of students at their schools.” Stitt said.
The laws regulating virtual charter schools and how they determine attendance are much different than traditional schools.
News 9 asked Stitt whether there should be stricter regulation over virtual charter schools.
“You know, I don’t think so,” Stitt said. “They already don’t have some of the same dollars that some of our public schools do so I’m fine with how they’re funded today.”
Epic Charter Schools clearly try to impact legislation. During the 2018 campaign season, Epic and its affiliates donated $180,000 to 78 statewide candidates including Governor Stitt.
“I’ve had a lot of contributors to our campaign,” Stitt said. “And I represent what’s best for all 4-million Oklahomans. And I think people know that I’m going to hold everybody accountable and that’s why I asked for the investigation. And again, let’s wait and see what actually turns out.”
Epic has maintained it’s done nothing wrong and welcomes an audit.