charter schools

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a law Monday that reforms virtual charter school rules.

House Bill 2905, authored by Tulsa Republican Sheila Dills, will increase virtual charter school transparency and tweak policies lawmakers found problematic.

Virtual charters will be required to host orientations, increase required participation and limit the number of times students can transfer.

Because of a legislative session shortened by COVID-19, only a handful of education policy bills moved through the House and Senate to make it to the governor’s desk.

Time constraints meant only the bills most important to lawmakers could make it to Gov. Kevin Stitt.

So a hodgepodge of priority education legislation is currently being considered by the governor.

If signed by the governor, they would tweak virtual charter school rules, combat the teacher shortage and take other narrow measures.

As school districts attempt to make a transition to distance learning, one resource they can turn to is Oklahoma’s Statewide Virtual Charter School Board.

The board has long helped smaller districts connect to vendors of virtual schooling through its Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program. Now that program will likely be kicked into overdrive.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Oklahoma is home to one of the largest Native American student populations in the country. A new charter school hopes to better serve these kids by promoting Indigenous identities in the classroom. As Caroline Halter of member station KGOU reports, it's part of a growing movement.

Caroline Halter / StateImpact Oklahoma

Sovereign Community School is new charter school in Oklahoma City with a focus on Native American culture and identity. It’s also part of a movement of tribes and tribal citizens using publicly funded, privately run schools to take control over the education of Native children.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

A state investigation into Epic Charter Schools has expanded to include the school’s chief financial officer and four current or former board members, according to a search warrant filed in Oklahoma County Wednesday.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma investigators believe Epic Charter Schools embezzled money by inflating its enrollment with homeschool and private school students. Because of the state’s dedication to privacy, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the alleged abuse would not have been preventable under current state law.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

A state investigator’s search warrant filed in court Tuesday seeks evidence of alleged embezzlement of state funds and obtaining money under false pretenses at Epic Charter Schools, including through the use of “ghost students” who receive no actual instruction at the school.

Epic and and its two co-founders, David Chaney and Ben Harris, are the subject of a state law enforcement investigation, according to the seven-page affidavit and warrant filed in Oklahoma County District Court today.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

This session was far less contentious than last session in part because lawmakers were working with a budget surplus. Oklahoma teachers didn’t stage any walkouts, but education was still a dominant topic.

LLUDO / FLICKR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

With a huge freshman class and a promise for less gridlock, Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 2,800 bills this legislative session. With a third of the session now over, the StateImpact team has an update on some bills we’re following.

 

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