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Conflict arises in Oklahoma concerning student transfers to virtual schools

The state Education Board voted Thursday to rescind outdated rules regarding emergency transfers after superintendents contested student transfers out of their districts.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND Published: July 29, 2011

Springer said his biggest concern along this line is that about 30 students from his district have transferred to a brick-and-mortar school building that's offering prekindergarten courses through a virtual charter school.

“One school district can begin to franchise its program all over the state,” he said.

Epic One on One Charter School has opened three locations across the state where parents can drop off prekindergarten and elementary students for a day of education.

The facilities in Oklahoma City, Norman and Tulsa are raising debate about whether virtual schools chartered with one school district can open a school in another district.

Epic is a virtual program that received its charter to operate from Graham Public Schools in Okfuskee County.

The school is accepting students from across the state through emergency transfers.

Barresi assured Springer that she was aware of the situation involving Epic and has taken action. The Education Department sent the superintendent of Graham Public Schools and the leaders of Epic a cease-and-desist letter Wednesday.

“In reviewing solicitation on the Epic One on One website, it is evident that the intention is to provide a physical location for students within a school for a full day,” the letter signed by Neel says. “This violates the accreditation regulations related to one school conducting a school within the boundaries of another.”

In other business

Also Thursday, the board received a report on the accreditation status of districts across the state.

Three school districts were accredited with probation because of historically low student performance on standardized tests: Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Union.

This is the third consecutive year those districts have been warned that their academic deficiencies — as measured by the Academic Performance Index scores — must improve.