The University of Central Oklahoma paid $60,000 to cancel its sponsorship of the state's first online charter school, according to a document obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
The settlement amount is listed in a document from the Regional University System of Oklahoma, which oversees UCO. The AP obtained the document under provisions of the Oklahoma Open Records Act.
The Edmond university and Epic One on One Charter School said in January they had mutually agreed to end their relationship but both parties had declined to reveal the settlement amount, citing a confidentiality agreement.
The settlement between the parties ended a strange saga. UCO maintained it never formally entered into a contract with Epic, but Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish ruled in August that the university had accepted sponsorship of the charter school. Discussions about cutting ties began shortly thereafter.
Brad Morelli, UCO's legal counsel, said he had no comment on the settlement amount. Bill Hickman, an attorney for Epic, did not immediately return a phone message left Tuesday.
Since breaking ties with UCO, Epic has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Graham Public Schools in Okfuskee County. Epic plans to open for the 2011-12 school year.
Hickman has said Epic will allow students in kindergarten through 12th grade to take classes online, with the goal of providing an alternative to parents dissatisfied with traditional public schools. He has said parents of about 400 students have expressed an interest in the school, which is operated by the nonprofit Community Strategies Inc.
Epic's contract with UCO was signed June 28 by the university's executive vice president, Steve Kreidler but wasn't approved by RUSO regents. The Oklahoma Department of Education said regents' approval was necessary if Epic was to receive a district code, which would allow the charter school to receive public funding.
Epic sued the Education Department and the Oklahoma City Public Schools, seeking the district code, and Parrish ruled in favor of the charter school. UCO was not named in that lawsuit, but Parrish's ruling on the university's sponsorship status came during a court hearing in that case.
UCO had maintained it had withdrawn its request to sponsor Epic before a regents meeting in July.
The Education Department has appealed Parrish's ruling concerning the district code, but that appeal was filed before state Superintendent Janet Barresi took office on Jan. 10. Barresi is an advocate of charter schools but hasn't comment on the Epic case.