Communications & Public Affairs
Nov. 18 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
House Dems Call on Two Virtual Charter School Board Members to Step Down
OKLAHOMA CITY — Members of the House Democratic Caucus Education Policy Group released a joint statement in response to the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board canceling today’s previously scheduled meeting and Gov. Kevin Stitt firing School Board President John Harrington after the meeting was announced.
“Given the published intent of the meeting was to delve into conflicts of interest that exist on the board between members Phyllis Shepherd and Mathew Hamrick and Epic Charter Schools, we express deep concern that no plan exists for the body to meet until next month, especially considering the urgency with which Board President Harrington was removed.
“It is no secret that few decisions in the governor’s office of this magnitude happen without Governor Stitt’s approval, and on the surface, it does not seem like firing the member who appeared to be exploring such conflicts of interest, while leaving two board members who have clear conflicts to this investigation, was in the best interest of Oklahomans.
“The two board members in question should step down from their positions immediately. The conflict of interest is readily apparent for both. At a minimum, they must recuse themselves from all present and future matters related to this school district and specifically this investigation.
“Oklahoma families can wait no longer. The evidence presented in the audit of Epic Schools demands oversight from individuals who are independent and free of ties to the organization. Now is the time to act. Corruption has no place in Oklahoma government, we must call it out and demand its exit.”
Democratic Caucus Education Policy Group Members: Rep. Melissa Provenzano (Chair) Rep. Andy Fugate, Rep. Trish Ranson, Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, and Rep. John Waldron