OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s most popular and expanding online charter school is once again facing investigation by the OSBI and the U.S. Department of Education.
“We are aware of the investigation,” said Katherine Bishop, vice president of the Oklahoma Education Association.
Officials from the Oklahoma Education Association confirm the ongoing probe into Epic Charter Schools by several law enforcement agencies
News 4 has confirmed the OSBI is investigating the company that runs online and brick and mortar charter programs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It’s believed more than 23,000 Oklahoma kids attend Epic schools in some fashion.
The company took in more that $41 million in education funds in 2017. They will receive a reported $112 million in 2019.
According to a Tulsa World report, there are multiple allegations of wrongdoing.
“We are even finding out that some of them are dual enrolled in Epic and also in a private school, so here are public tax dollars possibly going to tuition for the private school or for outside activities as well,” Bishop said.
State law prohibits public education dollars go to stand alone private schools.
“I was contacted by the OSBI, and there are other federal agencies that are looking at some problems,” said Ron Sharp, state Senator from Shawnee and a former educator.
Sharp said the office of the Investigator General is looking into Epic schools, possibly for the federal dollars they receive for special needs students.
“For every student of which they recruit, 200 is added to their bonus fund which appears to be a pyramid scheme to attract more students,” he said.
This is not the first time Epic has come under the legal spot light.
In 2013, then Gov. Mary Fallin requested the OSBI investigate fraud allegations. The state Attorney General never brought charges.
News 4 has reached out to Epic schools representatives and is waiting an official response on the investigation.