OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma’s Virtual Charter School Board voted on Tuesday to begin the process of terminating its contract with Epic Charter Schools.
At the board meeting, Epic Superintendent Bart Banfield pleaded with the board to be patient. He asked for more time to dispute the recent audit that claims Epic owes the state more than $11 million.
“Please do not act rashly by circumventing the pursuit of truth and take hurried action today that could throw this school year into even more pandemonium,” Banfield said. “You do not have to do this.”
At the end of the meeting, the board’s attorney provided them with an intent to terminate document that included a list of violations Epic allegedly committed that go against their contract.
“Epic employees that are paid with Oklahoma tax dollars did work on behalf of Epic Charter Schools operation in the state of California,” said Attorney Marie Schuble said.
Tuesday’s vote only started the process of terminating Epic’s contract. After at least 90 days, there will be a hearing where Epic gets a chance to defend itself.
“Epic will have a chance during an administrative hearing where they can present witnesses, evidence, be represented by an attorney and have a chance for them to be able to tell their side of the story,” Schuble said.
In response to Tuesday’s action, Epic administrators remain confident it will succeed, releasing the following statement:
“Fairness did not prevail today, but it’s important to understand what did happen. The SVCSB voted to initiate the process to terminate, but it is a process that provides EPIC due process with that Board, as well as other legal options. So far, only one side of the story has been allowed to be told. We are confident that once we have the audit work papers and have as much opportunity to present our side of the audit as the State Auditor has been provided, we will prevail for our more than 2,100 employees and the families of our more than 60,000 students.”EPIC CHARTER SCHOOLS
The Virtual Charter School Board did make sure to point out that this action does not affect the current school year and is in no way an indictment of the students or teachers at Epic.
“Plenty of time for students to continue to push forward, knock out their assignments, teachers to grade assignments,” the board said. “We are not interrupting that flow by any stretch of the imagination.”
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