OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted today to withhold $9.1 million from Epic Charter Schools for exceeding the allowable amount on school administrative costs. The vote came in the wake of an extensive yearlong review by the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) of Epic’s spending to determine the dollar figure.
“The road to today has been long, challenging and frustrating. State education dollars should support student learning, not corporate profits. The state board’s vote is a huge step forward for the students and families of Epic, as well as all Oklahoma taxpayers,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.
An investigative audit by the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s Office concluded in 2020 that Epic owed millions for exceeding state caps on administrative spending. The State Board of Education demanded repayment. The following month, Hofmeister recommended probation for Epic, but the Board rejected it. Epic disputed the auditor's figures and offered to repay a little more than $300,000. OSDE then conducted a 10-month secondary review of Epic’s administrative costs between 2015 and 2019, examining more than 30,000 documents of evidence. Beyond the amount identified on the state audit, Hofmeister assessed a separate $10 million penalty to Epic for additional misreporting of administrative costs in 2020.
The State Board voted unanimously to claw back the money from Epic’s state funding payments. That money, in turn, will be redistributed through the state school funding formula to other districts.
Saturday, 18 December 2021 08:51