OKLAHOMA CITY, April 21, 2021 — The school board for Epic Charter Schools’ One-on-One Charter approved and signed settlement terms proposed by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board (SVCSB) at a special meeting this evening. The settlement agreement reflects the exact terms proposed by the SVCSB at its April 20, 2021, meeting. It now goes back to SVCSB for final approval.
The agreement comes after EPIC made significant operational changes since October, when an audit of the school was issued by the Office of the State Auditor & Inspector. Since October, EPIC’s board of education has voluntarily implemented more than 50 corrective actions between its two charters.
“While we have objected to the politicization of the audit and some of its findings, we have implemented many changes it recommended to strengthen our school and make our operations more transparent,” said Epic School Board President Doug Scott. “We’re in a different, stronger and better place than we were six months ago and I’m proud of the hard work of this Board and our school leaders. I want to thank the SVCSB and Executive Director Dr. Rebecca Wilkinson for her leadership during this period of time. Everyone involved has a servant’s heart and wants to serve children and families to the best of our ability.”
Under the terms of the agreement approved by EPIC’s board tonight, Epic will be allowed to continue serving the more than 35,000 students who are enrolled in its One-on-One Charter, which serves students in 75 counties. Students in Tulsa and Oklahoma County are served in its Blended Learning Charter, which is not under the purview of the SVCSB and which also will continue to operate.
Outlined in the settlement agreement are action items including changes to the school’s relationship with Epic Youth Services (EYS), which previously served as a charter management organization overseeing day-to-day operation of the school. As a result of corrective actions made by the EPIC Board prior to the settlement agreement, all school personnel now report to the superintendent and the board, and EYS is no longer logistically or financially managing the school.
EPIC’s newly hired Assistant Superintendent of Finance has implemented changes internally that will allow for a more detailed, public view of the school’s expenditures. By July 1 and on a go-forward basis, this will include public access to EPIC Learning Fund expenditures for the highest level of public transparency. The EPIC Learning Fund previously fell under the management of EYS, a private company. As a private business, EYS’ records are not public records.
“We worked toward this settlement with one goal in mind: improve where we needed in the interest of continuous school improvement to better serve our 2,200 staff members and our approximate 55,000 students and families,” said EPIC Superintendent Bart Banfield. “Our team is now excited and ready to turn the page on what has been a turbulent chapter. We believe the 2021-2022 school year will be our best yet and show our commitment to having a positive, collaborative relationship with the SVCSB, the State Department of Education and our other partners and sponsors.”
A copy of the settlement agreement and copies of EPIC’s corrective actions since October can be found HERE.