Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement Wednesday regarding serious problems that have been identified with a state audit of EPIC Charter Schools.
“The state audit claims that EPIC did not properly report teacher salaries when paying retirement benefits, and that EPIC did not respond to auditor’s questions about retirement-benefit payments. Yet EPIC has publicly produced documents showing they fully complied with state law, which does not allow for bonuses to be included in retirement calculations.
“EPIC has also provided documentation that includes emails from state retirement system officials endorsing EPIC’s actions. All those supporting documents, including Teachers’ Retirement System approval of the calculation, were provided to the state auditor.
“The fact that the audit pretends that documentation and provisions of the Oklahoma administrative code do not exist should set off alarm bells, and it raises serious additional questions about the validity of the audit’s conclusions about EPIC.
“At the same time, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister has yet to address the fact that the audit repeatedly criticizes her agency’s oversight of school finances, not just at EPIC, but at all schools. The superintendent has issued a statement saying the audit shows something is ‘systematically wrong,’ but says nothing about the fact that her agency is the system under scrutiny.
“This audit has raised serious questions. It’s just the serious questions have to do with how two statewide officeholders are running their agencies. Oklahomans deserve answers,” Small concluded.
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is a free-market think tank that works to advance principles and policies that support free enterprise, limited government, and individual initiative.