In The Know: New records reveal Epic Charter Schools’ sponsor was in touch with state auditor for months before scandal, Public demands jail trust remove ICE officers from Oklahoma County Jail

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

(Capitol Update) Speaker McCall greenlights nearly 100 interim studies: Speaker Charles McCall last week approved 96 of 146 interim study requests made by House members to be held before the legislature returns in February. This is considerably more than the 63 studies approved last year. The larger number of requests and approvals likely reflects the 46 freshman members elected last November. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

In The News

New records reveal Epic Charter Schools’ sponsor was in touch with state auditor for months before scandal: The Tulsa World has obtained public records that indicate one of Epic Charter Schools’ own charter school authorizers has been in touch with the State Auditor’s Office for months about a possible audit. On Friday, Gov. Kevin Stitt requested an investigative audit of Epic and its related entities by State Auditor Cindy Byrd. [Tulsa World] A handful of bills considered last session sought to strengthen regulation of virtual charter schools.

Public demands jail trust remove ICE officers from Oklahoma County Jail: Conversations about immigration, local law enforcement and the role of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are circulating throughout Oklahoma and continued on Monday at the Oklahoma County Jail Trust meeting. [The Oklahoman] Currently, there are two ICE agents present at the jail. They have been on site since 2015, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office general counsel Danny Honeycutt told a packed room. [NonDoc]

Chickasha Democrat will not seek re-election to Oklahoma Legislature: Oklahoma state Rep. David Perryman, one of the few rural Democrats in the House, will not seek re-election next year. The Monday announcement from the House Minority Floor Leader that he will not seek re-election in House District 56 could set the stage for a hotly contested 2020 election in the district that includes parts of Caddo, Grady and Kiowa counties. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Attorney General drafting restitution plan for qualified Tate Publishing victims: The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office is drafting a restitution plan for qualified victims of a racketeering scheme conducted by former owners of a vanity publishing house that catered to Christian authors. [The Oklahoman]

Muskogee Phoenix Editorial Board: Number of teacher certifications rise: Oklahoma’s increased reliance on emergency certification to fill its classrooms with teachers is a troubling trend that must be reversed sooner rather than later. A record 3,038 teachers were admitted during this past school year through that credentialing process, according to reporting from CNHI’s Capitol Bureau. [Editorial Board / Muskogee Phoenix]

Marty Percy: Homelessness Task Force reveals plan to create plan: July 19, 2019 was the first public meeting of the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness. It was a bit of a mess. It will likewise be a bit of a mess for the Mayor and this City to address homelessness. [Marty Percy / FreePressOKCFor Oklahomans with felony convictions, finding safe and stable housing can be especially difficult.

Ginnie Graham: Public funding to fight hunger among aging Americans not keeping pace with growth of older residents: On a torn-out spiral sheet of paper, a woman included 30 cents with an explanation it was to defray costs for a service that gave her companionship and nourishment. Even though Meals on Wheels doesn’t require a fee, that note is kept by President and CEO Calvin Moore. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Tulsa World Editorial Board: The first step is admitting you have a problem. Tulsa has a problem: Last week, the City Council held its second public forum to address the Equality Indicators reports. One repeated theme of Wednesday’s session was the lack of trust between Tulsa’s black community and the police department charged with protecting it. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Meet 7 Tulsans who have been freed after decades in prison. Two are brothers: For years, Corey Atchison told anyone who would listen that he was wrongly imprisoned on a 1991 first-degree murder conviction related to the shooting of a man east of downtown Tulsa. But the idea of being released became much more of a reality to Atchison once a judge freed his brother, Malcolm Scott, from prison in 2016 after finding him and another man actually innocent in an unrelated 1995 murder case. [Tulsa World]

Children’s Hospital expands capacity to care for seriously ill and injured children: The Children’s Hospital at OU Medicine will more than double its capacity to care for seriously ill and injured children beginning Monday. A state-of-the-art $27.5 million expansion of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) has 34 new beds for patients up to age 18 who need critical care. [The Oklahoman]

Promises are at the heart of MAPS: MAPS is built on promises. “MAPS is always about trust, trust in the council, trust in the people implementing it,” Randy Ward, who lives in southeast Oklahoma City, said earlier this month at a city council review of MAPS 4 ideas. [The Oklahoman]

Beer boom in OKC: Mayor, senator, brewers explore proof of city’s economic growth within brewing industry: Oklahoma City’s economic development can be measured in many ways, but I’d like to suggest a new one — beer brewing barrelage. [The Oklahoman]

Tribal convention and meeting spaces luring visitors to Oklahoma: While there’s no question that casinos are absolute magnets for visitors to Oklahoma, tribes in the Sooner State also are drawing people in by offering convention and meeting space. [Journal Record ????] Guymon expects tourism increase with new casino. [Journal Record ????] Durant preparing for growth as Choctaw Nation expands casino. [Journal Record] New water park creates uptick in hotel stays, more jobs for Otoe-Missouria Tribe. [Journal Record ????]

Construction firms attribute growth to more tribal projects: Tribal construction projects have changed local landscapes and economies across Oklahoma in recent years and contributed to the success of companies like Manhattan Construction Co. and Flintco. [Journal Record ????] Architecture firms in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have opened Native American-owned firms in an effort to generate more business for tribes on their casino projects and other structural needs. [Journal Record ????]

Fort Sill facility may not be needed for migrants, Lankford says: Federal officials likely won’t need to use a Fort Sill facility to hold minors from other countries until this fall, and possibly not at all, U.S. Sen. James Lankford said Monday. [The Oklahoman] “Based on trends, I would think it would be September or October,” Lankford said during a conference call. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Our clients’ needs are much greater than what we are serving today. That has been reflected in budget constraints.”

– Calvin Moore, President & CEO of Meals on Wheels of Metro Tulsa, which currently provides meals to 1,000 home-bound clients who cannot prepare their own food and 500 teenagers without consistent access to a kitchen [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Percent of Oklahoma certified teachers no longer in the classroom in 2017 who said they would need more than higher pay to go back to the classroom.

[Source: State Department of Education]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Among Philly kids, trauma and poverty are linked to mental illness, learning problems and more: Undergoing traumatic experiences in childhood and growing up in poverty can affect brain development and lead to serious mental-health problems, learning difficulties, and earlier puberty than peers experience, according to a new study of Philadelphia youngsters. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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