Technology, testing sites and salaries: Documents provide some insight into Epic charter’s expenses

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Epic Charter School’s Tulsa offices at 3810 South 103rd East Avenue. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

Oklahoma’s largest virtual charter school spends millions on technology, office facilities, testing sites and salaries, while a large amount is funneled to a for profit company with no state oversight. 

Expenses paid to various vendors are revealed in a line item register received through an open records request of Epic One-on-One Charter School, providing new details on how the fast growing virtual school spent more than $90 million in state funding during the 2018-19 school year. 

While the documents, which are shown below, show some new details, it also shows more than $21 million going to the for profit company Epic Youth Services.

On Aug. 23, 2018, a $7,925,653 payment was made to Epic Youth Services LLC for “management fees.”

On Dec. 21, 2018, a $13,620,600 payment was made to Epic Youth Services LLC for the “student learning fund.”

Epic has been accused by some of exorbitant spending and is currently under investigation by state investigators for falsifying enrollment records and embezzling funds through the for profit company. 

Epic Youth Services, which is owned by Epic co-founders David Chaney and Ben Harris, has been accused by an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations official of making unlawful payments to vendors and students’ families.

Epic officials, who deny all wrongdoing, have said Epic Youth Services LLC pays for extracurricular activities and additional learning opportunities, but those records are not made public by the school.

While expenses by Epic Youth Services are not available, the documents from Epic One-on-One provide some insight into which companies, nonprofits and consulting groups do business with the school. 

Cushing-based Beasley Technology received nearly $2.5 million for technology services and almost $600,000 was spent on office facilities and testing sites. 

The documents also provide insight into teacher and administrator salaries. 

Epic did not immediately provide comment for this article, including answers to questions about whether payroll comes from other accounts. 

Review the documents: Readers are encouraged to review the financial documents and share any questions, comments or story tips to ben@readfrontier.com 

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Ben Felder

Based in Oklahoma City, Ben Felder joined The Frontier in 2019 and covers education and politics. He previously covered education and government as an investigative reporter at The Oklahoman before becoming the newspaper’s news director. Felder can be reached at ben@readfrontier.com. Follow him on Twitter @benfelder_okc
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