OKLAHOMA CITY (October 1, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister issued the following statements today regarding the investigative audit of Epic Charter Schools released by Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd:
“While we are still reviewing the entire contents of the audit, the initial findings are concerning. Our state has recently invested in public education at the highest levels in our state’s history, and Oklahomans deserve accountability and transparency on how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.
“I am grateful for Auditor Byrd’s extensive work on this report and agree that her findings are not representative of all public charter schools or alternative forms of education. We know parents want educational options, especially in light of how education has shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect every Oklahoma student to have access to high quality options that are transparent about their performance and accountable to taxpayers.
“I am committed to working with Superintendent Hofmeister and the Legislature to ensure our public education funding provides the maximum benefit for our students and teachers.” – Governor Kevin Stitt
“In an education environment where every dollar is being stretched to the limit, these findings are deeply disturbing. It is one thing for a public school to utilize the services of a private vendor, which is common practice, but when that private vendor operates the school in question and can manipulate that structure to obfuscate or mislead, there is something systematically wrong. Oklahomans deserve better.
“As the coronavirus pandemic has made clear, there is no question that virtual instruction and innovative models are important options for many students and families. These changes are rapidly transforming the education landscape and it is critical that laws, policies and infrastructure keep pace to ensure transparency and accountability. We will closely examine the most appropriate steps moving forward in consultation with the State Auditor and other state officials.”– State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister