Epic Charter Schools and leaders respond to founders arrests

Epic Charter Schools took to Facebook to make a comment after the founders of Epic Charter Schools and the former Chief Financial Offer were arrested on multiple felony charges. The video above has their full statement.

“We inherited a complex web of misdirection and dishonesty. With each layer of discovery by our new executive leadership has faced it and worked with the board to replace it.”

Politicians are sharing their reactions to the arrests as well.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister

“The money that Epic’s founders took was taxpayer dollars for children’s learning. They not only robbed the children of Epic but the children of Oklahoma. It is unconscionable that the alleged deceitfulness of the school’s founders made them multimillionaires at the expense of taxpayers. This fraud was allowed to happen because of cracks in state law that still exist today. It is indisputable that they were able to exploit open and obvious weaknesses in the law for their own personal gain. This saga also highlights why there is no room for a for-profit management school in public education. Epic’s management turned the purpose of education on its head and incentivized cash over kids.”

Rep. Sheila Dills of Tulsa

Legislation that I authored in 2019 and was signed by the Gov. required Epic Youth Services to list their expenses of tax payer dollars. I have been told this legislation was critical and very helpful. They of course falsified the numbers the first year they were supposed to report. I fought as hard as i could on this issue to fix our broken laws for years and shame on Sen. Adam Pugh and Sen. Leader Greg Treat for not doing the right thing by hearing my legislation this year and getting it signed. And shame on the Legislators who protected them and the legislators who were bought by them with individual donations and donations for the legislators PACS! This would have closed all loopholes, protected tax payers and children. The Senate leadership has been a huge roadblock! They should pack up their bags and go home! Thank you former Senator Gary Stanislawski for helping get HB1395 through my first year. Thank you Sen. Dewayne Pemberton and Sen. Zack Taylor for carrying my legislation in the Senate. Thank you to House Education Chairs Rhonda Baker and Representative Mark McBride and Speaker Charles McCall and thank you to my House colleagues for voting unanimously to send my legislation to the Senate that would have closed the loopholes. PS. Sen Ron Sharp fought along with me and before me but was ousted from dark money funded by these____! State Auditor Cindy Byrd did a fabulous job and put everything on the line and is still fighting them in her Primary and Andrea Eger - Tulsa World deserves the highest award in journalism for her investigative work and reporting. Thank you OSBI and Gov. Stitt.”

Jena Nelson, candidate for Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction

“The numerous charges filed today against the officials behind Epic Schools are welcome news in the battle against corruption and for accountability. Oklahoma’s hard-working taxpayers are the victims of this fraud, and they deserve to know that their public dollars are going to effective public schools. I want to make sure, however, that we don’t forget about two other groups who are victims of Epic’s lawlessness: its students and teachers. They were victims of Epic’s failed promises, too. I applaud all those involved with bringing Epic’s misdeeds to light and will support all efforts to ensure Oklahoma is never again subject to such a wide-ranging fraud. Unfortunately – but not surprisingly – this is becoming commonplace in the Kevin Stitt/Ryan Walters administration. Oklahoma deserves better. Education is a sacred duty that society owes to its next generation and those who pervert that obligation to line their own pockets deserve the harshest punishments available.”