Education policy leaders from state Senate, House reflect on Epic Charter Schools audit findings | Education

Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, and vice chair of the Senate education committee, had only tackled the audit’s executive summary so far but said he would be making time to study the full report in-depth.

“Rep. Sheila Dills (R-Tulsa) and I and many others have been on board from the beginning in promoting greater transparency for virtual charter schools. This report is only going to trigger greater response from the Legislature,” he said. “Some areas have been identified and we are going to make sure we tighten those screws.”

Newhouse said he champions school choice options for parents, including virtual charter schools, and has rooted for Epic to succeed, so “I think it’s a tragedy that the report found so many glaring mistakes and shortfalls.”

“When this organization was found to be owing the state roughly $9 million, not to mention it identified several shortcomings my constituents are very concerned about, it’s quite the dilemma because this charter school offers such a tremendous service in the pandemic,” Newhouse said. “I am hoping Epic can address these and put confidence back into their system. We are asking them to do right by the taxpayer and right by the families and teachers and students.”

Since the World asked lawmakers for their take on the state audit report, we also asked for their take on Epic’s response that State Auditor Cindy Byrd must be anti-charter school or anti-parent school choice.

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