Epic summary judgment
The Epic Charter Schools board met digitally on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, and unanimously approved new board member Wyjuana Montgomery. (Screenshot)

During the Epic Charter Schools board meeting Thursday evening, attorney Bill Hickman announced a postponement of the hearing surrounding a motion for summary judgement filed by Epic One-on-One regarding charter termination proceedings originally slated for Friday.

The hearing that will take place in front of the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board with Epic arguing for dismissal of the notice to terminate charter authorization will be postponed for approximately two weeks, Hickman said.

That means the charter termination hearing scheduled for March 8-11 will also be postponed owing to scheduling conflicts.

“Unfortunately, there was a virtual board member who was unavailable, and so that’s caused some core issues. So we’re in the process of rescheduling the hearing,” Hickman told Community Strategies board members.

During the meeting, board members accepted the resignation of five-year member Adam Reynolds and unanimously approved Wyjuana Montgomery as their new board member at the recommendation of Epic Superintendent Bart Banfield.

“I went through the process that the board set up back in the fall with regards to reviewing individuals that had applied to be part of our board,” Banfield said.

Montgomery is the director of K-12 implementation for a digital learning platform called EVERFI, as well as the executive director and board chairwoman of the Reach Forward Foundation.

She lives in the Oklahoma City area, is an Epic parent and has a B.A. in African-American studies from Duke University as well as an M.A. in organizational management from Ashford University.

Reynolds, who was not in attendance of Thursday’s meeting, becomes the third member of Community Strategies (the Epic board) to resign in recent months. Reynolds had cited spending more time on his professional responsibility as the owner of multiple small businesses and spending more time with his family as his reasons for resigning.

During his superintendent update, Banfield also announced an upcoming vaccine point of distribution for Epic teachers.

Epic will partner with Total Wellness Corporate Health to distribute the 1,200 allotted vaccines. The vaccine events for Epic staff will take place on March 4 at Epic’s 50 Penn Place offices in Oklahoma City and March 5 at their offices in Tulsa.

“Many of our staff at Epic have already been vaccinated, so we think the 1,200 shot allotment is going to be plenty for us to be able to vaccinate those individuals who want and need the vaccine,” Banfield told the board.

Banfield also told board members that enrollment in Epic for the 2020/2021 school year is now open, with 19,000 students already enrolled.

Contracting with Education Board Partners

Thursday night, board members also unanimously voted to enter an agreement with Education Board Partners, a national nonprofit based in Washington D.C. that provides support to help strengthen school boards.

“We’ve contacted them about hiring them to help with our governing board, recruitment, assessment, board member training, things of that nature, as addressing where we are as a governing board and how we do our processes,” Community Strategies Board Chairman Doug Scott said. “I think it’s something that will really benefit our current board especially with having several new board members as far as organization.”

Scott said the contract with Education Board Partners would last for two years and cost about $125,000 total.

“The work we’ve been doing with the State Department of Education as well as the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, I think engaging with a group like Education Board Partners will help to mitigate any criticism or questions that may still continue to exist with our authorizer with the State Department of Education,” Hickman said.

The board also approved their FY 2020 audit, which was completed by CBEW Professional Group for both Epic Blended and Epic One-on-One.

CBEW partner Chuck Crooks briefly explained the three audit opinions issued in areas of financial statements, internal control compliance and federal programs.

Crooks told the board there were no adverse findings in any of the three areas for either Epic One-on-One or Epic Blended.