Epic Board Approves SVCBS’ Consent Agreement; Vote By State Board Could Stop Termination Effort

by Scott Carter

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was produced by the Epic News Network, a journalism program for high school students funded by Epic Charter Schools.

OKLAHOMA CITY – The school board that oversees Epic Charter Schools One-on-One virtual district voted 4-0 Wednesday evening to approve and sign a consent agree proposed earlier this week by Statewide Virtual Charter School board. Board member J.P. Franklin did not attend the meeting.

Epic officials said the agreement “reflects the exact terms proposed” by the SVCBS at its April 20 meeting. Once approved by the SVCSB, the agreement would end the efforts to terminate Epic’s contract.

The next meeting for the SVCBS is schedule for May 11.

With the adoption of the SVCBS agreement, Epic’s School Board President Doug Scott said the school is now in a better place than it was six months ago.

“While we have objected to the politicization of the audit and some of its findings, we have implemented many changes it recommended to strengthen our school and make our operations more transparent,” Scott said in a media statement. “We’re in a different, stronger and better place than we were six months ago and I’m proud of the hard work of this Board and our school leaders. I want to thank the SVCSB and Executive Director Dr. Rebecca Wilkinson for her leadership during this period of time. Everyone involved has a servant’s heart and wants to serve children and families to the best of our ability.”

Final approval of the agreement could bring an end to months of wrangling between Epic and the SVCSB. In its statement, Epic said it has voluntarily implemented more than 50 corrective actions between its two charter schools.

Epic officials said the agreement makes several changes including moving school personnel out from under Epic Youth Services, the charter management organization that previously had day-to-day operation of the school, to the school’s superintendent and school board.

“EYS is no longer logistically or financially managing the school,” the statement said.

The agreement also makes the school and its finances more transparent. Beginning July 1, the school’s Learning Fund will have public oversight and its records will become public records.

Epic Superintendent Bart Banfield said school officials were ready to turn the page on what has been a turbulent chapter.

“We worked toward this settlement with one goal in mind:  improve where we needed in the interest of continuous school improvement to better serve our 2,200 staff members and our approximate 55,000 students and families,” Banfield said. “We believe the 2021-2022 school year will be our best yet and show our commitment to having a positive, collaborative relationship with the SVCSB, the State Department of Education.”

About 35,000 students are enrolled in One-on-One.

NOTE: This story was updated on April 22 at 9:44 a.m.

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