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With a new name, Epic Charter School will pay former Sen. Ron Sharp $500,000 settlement

An Epic Charter School administrative office.
Whitney Bryen
Oklahoma Watch

The board overseeing Epic Charter School was all about turning over a new leaf Wednesday night.

The governing board of the nonprofit Community Strategies Inc., which technically oversees the virtual charter behemoth changed the school’s name and buried the hatchet in a longtime dispute to the tune of $500,000.

The board voted to change the district’s name by dropping an “S” in their title and officially merging their online and blended schools. Previously, the two schools had been technically separate entities.

The move was long in the works and was suggested by State Auditor Cindy Byrd in her audit report as a way to improve accountability.

Additionally, the board voted to settle an anti-SLAPP lawsuit against former Republican Senator Ron Sharp.

Sharp was a vocal critic of Epic’s founders who recently faced criminal charges and was sued by them for defamation. That was inappropriate, current school board chairman Paul Campbell said.

“On behalf of the school I want to apologize to him for what he went through, because it was not easy I’m sure,” Campbell said.

Sharp will be owed more than $500,000 for damages and attorney fees per the settlement agreement.

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Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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