OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – KFOR took a deeper look into the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s investigative report on Epic Charter Schools, which was released on Tuesday, June 21. Inside the report was information on alleged misuse of funds, altered school attendance, and unauthorized teacher bonuses.
According to the department’s report, Epic Charter handed out nearly $8.6 million in bonuses the school’s board reportedly approved last year. However, OSDE said those bonuses were not approved by the district.
“Every single penny that we paid out was earned to all the teachers and administrators,” said Paul Campbell, Epic’s board chairman.
In the OSDE’s report, it showed one Epic employee received six times her pay for working only 35 percent of the school year. Some employees even ended up getting an extra six figures.
The state superintendent, Joy Hofmeister, said the department was tipped off by a member of Epic’s governing board.
“These issues included alleged improprieties with enrollment and attendance, a hostile work environment, failures in governance, improper awards of contracts to vendors and the unlawful payment of bonus compensation to administrative staff.”
Oklahoma and 14 other states use ACT scores to determine a student’s progress in school.
The school’s test scores were released days after the state’s investigation, showing students at Epic scored well below the state and national average for ACT scores at 16.63. Several other charter and public schools in the Oklahoma City metro averaged ACT scores in the 20s.
OSDE has handed over this audit to District Attorney David Prater for further investigation and possible charges.