OSDE recommends probation for Epic Charter School district following investigation

This July 19, 2019 photo shows An Epic Charter Schools office in Oklahoma City.  (AP Photo/Sue...
This July 19, 2019 photo shows An Epic Charter Schools office in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)(KXII)
Updated: Jun. 21, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - On Tuesday the Oklahoma Department of Education released the findings of its recent investigation into the Epic Charter School district.

Last year the OSDE launched an investigation into epic schools and since the accusations that led to the investigation the school district has gone through changes in leadership.

“It is unfortunately true that epic charter schools remains a school that has challenged enterprise that appears to have misused tax payer dollars,” said state superintendent of public education Joy Hofmeister.

One of the major findings of the investigation focused on attendance.

The state recently passed a law saying that if a student does not complete instructional materials for 15 consecutive days that student must be dropped and the school would no longer supply funding for them.

“It appears that Epic may have intentionally created an algorithm to adapt to the new law in such a way that a large number of students were never absent on the 15th day,” said Hofmeister.

According to the investigation around 9% of students were absent more than 50% of the time and 5% were absent more than 75% of the time.

“In total, epic certified data that added 39,045 days of membership that could not have been accounted and causing an apparent misallocation of funds of $780,000,” said Hofmeister.

The investigation also identified problems with how bonuses were being given to employees.

“Nearly $8.6 million in bonus compensation was improperly paid to epic administrators,” said Hofmeister.

Necessary information will be turned over to law enforcement to decide if any criminal charges will be brought but in the meantime OSDE has made a decision on the district.

“I will recommend to the state board of education in the coming weeks that epic be placed on probation,” said Hofmeister.

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