For Immediate Release
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
Oklahoma Republicans Pulling Wool over the Publics’ Eyes
OKLAHOMA CITY—MARCH 9, 2022 – Republicans continue their unapologetic assault on public education as they push through their education vouchers and ESA bills. The latest IRS investigation into Epic Charter school’s finances demonstrates why these voucher bills that funnel public dollars into the privatization of education, many of which are parochial schools, are a dangerous game with the peoples’ public tax dollars.
“The Epic charter school’s ongoing investigation has caught the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service as Republicans continue to hoodwink the public into thinking defunding public education is in the best interest of our children,” stated Alicia Andrews, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair.
“State auditor, Cindy Byrd, forwarded the latest state audit investigation result on Epic to the IRS and FBI, an audit which discovered tens of millions of taxpayer dollars diverted into a for-profit company controlled by the school’s former chief financial officer, Josh Brock, and co-founders, David Chaney and Ben Harris.
“Even after the discovery of Epic’s investigation and while Stitt’s appointed Attorney General, John O’Connor, attempted to bury the investigation results, Republicans filed several voucher bills this session, bills designed to defund public education and send the public money into a private system with no transparency,” Andrews said.
“It doesn’t matter what Republicans try to call these bills, vouchers, ESAs; it doesn’t matter. In the end, these bills steal public education money from public education and funnel it into privatization that has no accountability on how the money is managed and is wide open for abuse. Epic is a prime example of how we shouldn’t funnel public dollars into private and charter schools.
“Public schools represent more than 90% of our school-aged children and the majority of rural Oklahoma. Rural communities, already facing limited education resources, would be most hurt by these voucher bills, while rural children don’t have easy access to private and charter schools. These bills cater to the top 1% who can afford to pay the difference between the funded money and school tuition.
“The IRS investigation should be a wake-up call to Oklahomans that these voucher bills labeled “school choice” are just sheep in wolfs’ clothing. It’s the typical National headline chasing tactic Republicans are pouncing on in an election year in hopes of gaining support from voters who have not been told the truth on how these voucher bills truly impact their children and grandchildren’s education. Republicans have no genuine interest in public education or our children, and it’s all about them,” continued Andrews.
“What’s missing from these bills are facts and genuine language on how public education money taken away from public education has long-term repercussions on society and our children’s future. Republicans seem to glaze over these truths and facts, grasping for a snappy headline for personal gain instead, and that should be a red flag from the beginning. We should be spending our efforts more on strengthening our public education and making sure all children have access to quality materials and resources, not gutting public education funds,” Andrews concluded.
For more information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party, visit the party website at okdemocrats.org, or call party headquarters at 405-427-3366.