Hickman emphasized again that the report, while calling for changes to the law, never says that laws have been broken.
“The auditor said yesterday that she’s seen a lot of fraud, but she stopped short of accusing Epic of fraud,” Hickman said. “She chose those words carefully, because she knows there’s no fraud here.”
Responding Friday to Epic’s criticism of the investigation, Byrd said: “Epic’s response is a smokescreen to, once again, distract taxpayers by changing the subject. This audit is not an assessment of the quality of their services, it’s an investigation into their finances. The facts provided in the audit speak for themselves.”
“As I’ve said repeatedly,” she added, “I am not against school choice. I support every child’s opportunity to get the best education possible. However, I cannot support the abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
Gov. Kevin Stitt, who called for the audit of Epic last year, and state education leaders agreed Thursday that the findings were concerning.
Epic also remains under investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. OSBI said Thursday it would use the audit, and that it should be helpful in what is a “complicated and intricate investigation.”
Read Epic’s full response to the state auditor report here: epiccharterschools.org/wp-content/uploads/Response-to-Audit-.pdf