Troubles mount for Epic charter schools as board votes to begin process of terminating its contract

A hearing before the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board could not happen before mid-January of 2021

TULSA — Tuesday, Oklahoma’s Statewide Virtual Charter School Board heard the results of a recent audit of Epic Charter Schools, then voted to begin the process of potentially terminating its contract with Community Strategies, Inc., the governing board for Epic.

Marie Schuble, Assistant Attorney General, explained that Tuesday’s vote is only the first step in that process, which will include a hearing before the board at which time Epic will have the chance to defend itself against the allegations raised by that audit.

“They have a chance to refute every single one of these facts at a hearing,” Schuble told the SVCSB during Tuesday’s meeting. “The way that this board is able to hear both sides by entering into this process to allow that to happen.”

She noted that such a hearing can not be scheduled for at least 90 days, “plenty of time for each side to gather evidence, to review. And then in the meantime, there’s also time for negotiation. Just because we enter this process does not mean that termination is the only option.”

She told the board she had carefully reviewed the audit and the allegations it contained.

“I’m asking this board to take this necessary action to initiate this process to enforce the terms of your contract with Community Strategies, Inc," Schuble said.

The board voted 3-1 to agree with Schuble’s recommendation.

Bart Banfield, Superintendent of Epic Charter Schools sent an email addressed to “EPIC families & Staff,” in which he wrote: “Fairness did not prevail today. After only hearing one side of the story and not allowing EPIC to present at its meeting, the SVCSB did vote to initiate termination proceedings. However, that process is dictated by law and allows EPIC to now have its due process with the Board.”

In other developments:

  • The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted Monday to demand Epic return $11.2 million based on the findings of the state audit
  • Attorney General Mike Hunter has appointed a special counsel to continue the investigation in Epic’s finances
  • Lawmakers at the capitol have scheduled a hearing Oct. 21st to hear the results of the SAI audit

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