Trial Set for Battle over Funds from Oklahoma Charter School

Sep 9, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A judge has set a trial date for a legal battle involving Oklahoma’s attempt to review financial records from a private company that manages a public charter school.

District Judge Natalie Mai set the trial date for Dec. 16, The Oklahoman reported Wednesday.

State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd said Epic Youth Services, which manages Epic Charter Schools, has refused to provide her office with records of Epic’s Learning Fund— a bank account that pays $1,000 per student for extracurricular activities, technology costs and supplemental curricula.

Byrd has tried obtaining those document as part of an audit of the school and company at the request of Gov. Kevin Stitt. But Epic Youth maintains that the records are private.

State investigators alleged Epic used the fund to embezzle taxpayer funds. Epic has denied any wrongdoing.

Attorneys representing Epic Youth said those funds are no longer public once they’re paid to a private company, and they shouldn’t be submitted for the audit.

The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, which oversees the Epic One-on-One virtual school, argued in a friend-of-the-court brief that state auditors should have access to those records.