Epic Charter Schools’ Board Calls For Due Process After State Audit

Thursday, October 22nd 2020, 9:40 pm

Epic Charter Schools’ Board members call for due process after the report from the state auditor earlier this month.

State leaders claimed Epic Charter Schools mishandled tens of millions of dollars. Epic’s attorneys dispute most of the report’s points and said there’s no evidence the district did anything wrong.

The board overseeing both Epic Blended and Epic One-On-One did take some corrective actions for points raised in the audit. Those were related to the frequency of meetings and clarifying how money is used with its for-profit management company.

Despite the changes, the company's attorney said there was no wrongdoing.

"We have combed through this audit report and you will not find one criminal statute sign that's been violated. You will not find any finding of fraud," Epic Youth Services Attorney Elizabeth Scott said.

Earlier this month, State Auditor Cindy Byrd called her findings the worst she's seen in decades. Now, the state is demanding more than $11 million be returned from Epic.

"I've sat here for 10 years and I've never heard anything like this. And now, this," Board Member Mike Cantrell said.

Cantrell said the district hasn't been given a chance to fully defend itself. Epic did release a 134-page rebuttal to the audit, but Cantrell said they're still waiting for the auditor's work papers so they can debunk them.

"For them to just pile on without giving us due process is just wrong," Cantrell said. "I hope we can all kind of work together to come to a resolution on things. None of us likes this hanging over our head, but it sure seems politically motivated to me.”

Epic's board said they'll have a hearing with the State Virtual School Board in January, when the state and district can submit evidence and call witnesses to argue their case.