OKLAHOMA CITY - Epic Charter Schools has a record number of students for the current 2019-2020 school year and is anticipated to be the state's third-largest public school system in Oklahoma when the State Department of Education soon announces enrollment for all Oklahoma school districts.

The Oklahoma-based virtual charter school reported its October 1 enrollment was 28,070 students. By comparison, Oct. 1 enrollment for Epic the previous school year was 21,305 students. However, Epic ended the 2018-2019 school year with more than 24,000 students, climbing by more than 3,000 students during the course of the school year.

In Cherokee County, 203 students are enrolled in Epic Charter Schools. Oct. 1 enrollment is typically the data set the Oklahoma Department of Education reports for all school districts to determine school year enrollment for each school district.

"Epic's growth shows the support that exists across the state for public school options for Oklahoma families and students," said Bart Banfield, superintendent for Epic Charter Schools. "We serve students in all 77 counties and believe our model is popular with families because we individualize education to meet the unique needs of each student. One size does not fit all when it comes to children, teaching and learning."

Epic's enrollment growth suggests midterm funding, which will be announced by the State soon, will likely be proportionally higher than midterm funding for many traditional school districts. This is because charter schools are initially funded based on the number of students enrolled as of Aug. 1, whereas funding for traditional school districts is determined by the highest enrollment number shown for the last three years, regardless of the district's current-year enrollment.

Midterm funding isn't additional revenue for a school district. It is simply the state adjusting funding at "midterm" of the school year to reflect school districts' actual and audited enrollment.

"We are proud to be serving a record number of students this school year with fully certified teachers that have class rosters on average of 27 students each," Banfield said. "We anticipate we will continue to grow throughout this school year, just as we have for the previous school years."

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