virtual schools

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Three weeks after an explosive state auditor’s report alleged a laundry list of illegal activity, Epic Virtual Charter Schools remains in the news.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Turmoil has swirled around Epic Virtual Charter Schools for years. But a state audit has intensified calls to take action against the school and its for-profit management company. And that’s clouded the future for the more than 60,000 students who attend Oklahoma’s largest school district.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and Civil Rights Attorney Ryan Kiesel about the fallout for Epic Virtual Charter School following a report from the State Auditor and Inspector and Governor Stitt faces pushback from trying to move forward with the privatization of Medicaid.

 

Steinar Engeland / Unsplash

Oklahoma’s Statewide Virtual Charter School Board started the process to end its contract and support for Epic Virtual Charter Schools Tuesday afternoon.

Monday was not a good day for Epic Virtual Charter Schools.

The virtual charter behemoth is facing fresh scrutiny from Oklahoma leaders in the wake of an investigative audit report that says they owe millions of dollars to the state.

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The first part of a long-awaited report from Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector Cindy Byrd on Epic Charter Schools was released Thursday. Byrd found a litany of problems in her investigation of the school that has faced legal scrutiny for years.

From TV and radio ads to advertisements on and radio to the steady flow of news stories, it has been difficult to ignore Epic Charter Schools lately. With multiple ongoing investigations into the school’s finances and enrollment, here is a comprehensive look at what has transpired and what it could mean for future state policy.

Why Is Epic Under Investigation?

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.

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