House Education Committee receives breakdown of EPIC Charter Schools audit from State Auditor

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Wednesday, State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd presented the findings of the 120-page audit of EPIC Charter Schools to the House Education Committee. 

The committee asked Byrd questions about previous audits of EPIC, and why nothing was found. 

She says it’s because they weren’t full investigative audits.  

“They think if you’ve had an audit you’ve had a turnover every rock type of audit, everything must be good. That’s just not the case,” Byrd said. “I think that’s why this audit was so shocking for EPIC.”

Many lawmakers also voiced their concern over what appears to be a lack of oversight from EPIC’s own school board and the Virtual Charter School Board.  

“I’m just not for sure if, from our perspective, these board members did not necessarily understand their contracts,” Director of the EPIC audit Brenda Holt told the committee. “They did not understand their responsibilities.”

Holt went on to say that in five years, not once did all five members of EPIC’s board show up for a meeting.

The State School Board has already demanded that EPIC pay the state back more than $11 million, the Virtual Charter School Board stared the process of potentially cancelling its contract with EPIC, but don’t expect swift action from the legislature.  

“I think the next step is meet with EPIC, maybe talk with Rose State, I don’t know,” Representative Mark McBride (R) said. “Find out more of what was going on.”

The committee also says it wants to make sure EPIC has a chase to answer their questions as well.   

“We do not want to point fingers or assume guilt on anyone. It’s important that we meet with them and we hear their side of the story,” Committee Chair Rep. Rhonda Baker (R) said. “I think everybody is anxious to know their side.”

EPIC was invited to attend the meeting, but declined, instead saying once they receive the work papers from the state auditor, they will provide the committee with a detailed response.

Baker says EPIC has a standing invitation to appear before the committee when it is ready.

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