Governor Kevin Stitt announced today he has submitted a request to the Oklahoma Auditor and Inspector’s Office for an audit of the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) following evidence of misuse of funds found in the audit of EPIC Charter Schools. Specifically, the request demands identification of all revenue sources flowing into OSDE through federal funds, state appropriations, taxes and fees, and to determine whether OSDE and Oklahoma school districts are complying with financial transaction reporting requirements. The first full audit of the OSDE in the agency’s history comes as over $3 billion will be invested in education in FY2022, the largest amount ever in Oklahoma history.
“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would clean up state government to make it more transparent and accountable and I am keeping that promise,” said Governor Stitt. “As we make record investments in our public education system, students and parents deserve to know that their schools are spending our tax dollars appropriately and in accordance with the law.”
Secretary of Education Ryan Walters voiced his support for the audit request to ensure state resources are being used to provide maximum support for teachers and classrooms.
“Oklahoma’s students deserve the best education and this audit will ensure that we are investing in the right priorities to better serve our kids,” said Secretary Walters. “I appreciate Governor Stitt and the legislators who requested this audit for their commitment to protecting taxpayer resources and delivering transparency to parents for the first time.”
In November 2020, 22 legislators asked Governor Stitt to request a full investigative audit of the Oklahoma State Department of Education after State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd found evidence of misuse of funds during an audit of EPIC Charter Schools.
The legislators stated then: “It is the duty of the Legislature to protect taxpayer dollars, and as such we are respectfully requesting that Governor Stitt task the State Auditor and Inspector’s office to conduct an investigative audit of the State Department of Education to determine the full extent and impact of its potential failure to ensure compliance.”
Read the legislators’ full press release here.