Communications & Public Affairs
July 16, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
Phone: (405) 962-7674
STATEMENTS: Dem Lawmakers, Former Educators Sound off on Epic Investigation
OKLAHOMA CITY – Four Oklahoma House Democratic Representatives, who were educators before running for office, have released the following statements in response to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation opening an investigation into Epic Charter Schools for embezzling millions of taxpayer dollars.
“Overall, the results of this investigation saddens me,” said Rep. Trish Ranson (D-Stillwater). “When education funding has become increasingly tight over the past 10 years, the fraudulent practices of Epic have created even more stress on our public education system. I sincerely hope that those who aimed to defraud the public will be held responsible and that restitutions will be made to our education system.”
“”What do you expect to happen, when you incentivize for-profit enterprises to maximize their income at public expense?” said Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa).
“10 million dollars. Stolen. The students and families of Oklahoma deserve better.,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa). “This school has consistently demonstrated questionable actions in how money is spent (most often not directly on students), financial decisions, the way attendance is calculated and their questionable record keeping.
“Given the strict oversight the State Department of Education has for brick and mortar schools, I am eager for their response to this situation and their plans to keep this from ever happening again.”
“I believe that the practice of allowing ‘ghost students’ wasn’t something every Epic teacher followed,” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants (D-Norman). “I also understand why so many certified teachers decided to go the Epic route. With that being said, with the results of an OSBI investigation showing embezzlement and the usage of ‘ghost students’ within Epic, this is exactly why so many of us legislators, especially those of us on the common education committee, have been calling for real accountability for virtual charters. Unfortunately, I believe these findings are just the tip of the iceberg.”