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Gov. Stitt calls for audit of state education department

FOX 23 Tulsa KOKI
FOX 23 Tulsa KOKI
Epic Charter schools Epic Charter schools

UPDATE, 9/16/21: State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has released a statement following Gov. Stitt’s request for an audit into the state education department.

“The Governor’s call for an audit is yet another attack on Oklahoma’s public education system. As the Governor should already know, the State Department of Education has undergone more than 20 financial, compliance and programmatic review audits by the state auditor’s office in the last 6-1/2 years. Additionally, the Governor’s hand-picked Secretary of Education approves every agency expenditure over $25,000 on a weekly basis. Every single spending request has been personally approved by Secretary Ryan Walters. At a time during which there are serious audits we have requested which potentially involve criminal activity, and while 541 school districts are struggling to find normalcy during a pandemic, the Governor’s attack on public education couldn’t be worse timing for students, families, teachers and taxpayers.”

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has submitted a request to the Oklahoma Auditor and Inspector’s Office for an audit of the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

The decision follows evidence of misappropriated funds found during an audit of EPIC Charter Schools.

Gov. Stitt’s request explicitly calls for all funds flowing into the Oklahoma State Department of Education to be identified. This includes federal funds, state appropriations, taxes, and fees.

This will be the first audit of the state education department in state history.

“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would clean up state government to make it more transparent and accountable and I am keeping that promise,” said Governor Stitt. “As we make record investments in our public education system, students and parents deserve to know that their schools are spending our tax dollars appropriately and in accordance with the law.”

Secretary of Education Ryan Walters supports the audit request.

22 Oklahoma legislators asked the state to investigate and audit the education department in Nov. 2020, after State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd found evidence of misused funds during an audit of EPIC Charter Schools.

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