On Saturday 10/2/2010 I received a letter from the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools (OBPVS) telling Focus that we need to stop operating Focus Consulting as a school or …
Pay the OBPVS application fee ($25) and the licensing fee ($1200 one-time + a recurring percentage of classroom revenue, no less than $700/year).
If Focus doesn’t stop operating as a school they would be discussing our case at their upcoming board meeting so it can be referred to the Oklahoma attorney general’s office for injunctive action against Focus Consulting Inc until we are in compliance. They accurately listed my services in their letter as “Custom Software Development, Website Management and Online Marketing.”.
- Click here to download and read the OBPVS letter to Focus Consulting Inc
- Click here to download and read the OBPVS letter to the Edmond Sun
- Click here and read subchapter 23 on seminars, workshops and short courses.
- OBPVS Board Members
- 1982 Oklahoma Attorney General discussion on seminars
We made some inquiries and found out that this was one of several letters that went out recently. They went to businesses small and large – including the Edmond Sun and OPUBCO/The Oklahoman. The one thing in common is that we have all conducted small seminars in the past or were planning to in the near future. In some cases these businesses are canceling their seminars as being requested by OBPVS. As you can see on the front page of this website we are going to keep pressing forward marketing our upcoming WordPress seminar until we learn more on 10/6.
History: We have been in business for 12 years. Two months ago we started conducting a once a month seminar on WordPress called “WordPress 101″. This class lasts for 4 hours and has less than 20 people. This meets the qualification for a school. When you look at the other small (and large) businesses that conduct seminars/classes in support of their primary function the impact of this is huge. Arts & Crafts seminars, home improvement seminars, financial planners, Toastmasters, etc. The list goes on. This does not appear to be a new statute, but they appear to have broadened the definition of what a school is. All references that could be found online leave the the interpretation up to OBPVS to determine on a case by case basis.
I contacted Mr. Dennis Rea who runs OBPVS (405 528 3370) firstname.lastname@example.org) about the meeting information. He told me the next meeting is on 10/6 at 1:30, 3700 N Classen, 2nd Floor. I plan on being there and if are reading this before 10/6 I encourage you to be there. See below for their regular meeting schedule.
As I learn of any new activity on this issue I’ll be updating this page. Your comments and suggestions below are welcome and encouraged.
Thank You, Patrick Allmond,
Tuesday Update 10/5/2010:
Interview with Phil Cross of Fox 25
Call from Senator Todd Lamb
Call from Representative George Faught
Link to the story on Fox 25, 10/5, 9pm (I had to remove this as Fox removed the link)
If a company that conducts a single four hour session once a month is considered in violation and needs to stop operating as a school then who else does this cover? Please share your comments below:
Home improvements stores offering educational sessions, Hobby Lobby, Private Real Estate Companies, athletic Bootcamps, financial seminars, REI, management coaching and training companies.
10/6/2010 Update after the OBPVS Meeting:
I attended the OBPVS Board meeting at 1:30 today. There were three companies being cited on the agenda with Focus being one of them. The other ones I did not recognize. As a courtesy they moved my agenda item to the top because I was the only company in attendance. As the meeting started I had to explain exactly what it is my business does. Everybody seemed be in agreement that even though the class is once a month and in support of my other services, it was definitely vocational.
We discussed the other options for Focus and the best one that came up was for me to restructure my agreements as a B2B type arrangement. I don’t offer my classes to individuals but instead offer it to organizations/companies – even if the organization has one person. It appears under that route that I am then exempt from being a licensed vocational institution. The other options were to stop conducting class, get licensed, or leave things the way they are and let the AG decide. I explored the B2B option a little more and if I went that route I’d have to propose it to the board and they would decide at their next meeting – December 1st. (always the first Wednesday of the month). As of right now that seems like the most viable option for me. I am not interested in dropping $1225 + a minimum of $700 a year for my once a month WordPress class.
At the end of the meeting a motion was made to table my issue until December. It was seconded and a vote was taken. Everybody voted yay excepted two people: Joe Robinson from Careertech (Head of the OBPVS board) and another gentleman who voted nay. The motion carried. I thanked them for their time and left. If you are interested in attending the next meeting it is December 1st. Their meetings are the 1st Wednesday of every month, and there is no meeting for the month of November 2010.
I followed up after the meeting with an email asking for the meeting minutes, and a copy of the statutes regarding the B2B arrangement. I’ll share that on my site at http://allaboutfocus.com/obpvs-information-page once I receive it.
The other companies on the agenda being cited: “Get Your Marketing Kick Started in 10 Weeks” by Ronald Skeleton, Tulsa, Oklahoma. “School of Jewelry Manufacturing and Repair” from Tulsa, Oklahoma
10/7 5pm. – The minutes will not be available until approved at the December meeting. I’ve updated the list of links above with the current roster of OBPVS board members.
10/29/2013 – I met with Senator Greg Treat to request assistance. He agreed to research it for me.
Unknown Date – I received a call that a bill was being proposed asking for an exemption for organizations that conduct three classes or less per week. I agreed that seemed reasonable.
Unknown Date – I received a call saying that 3 times a week was meeting resistance. I agreed that backing it down to once a week seemed agreeable.
2/5/2014 – Received a call that the language of once a week was still too aggressive. Will keep me posted.
2/6/2014 – Found the Oklahoma Senate Bill online. Click here to see it
3/4/2014 – The previous senate bill was merged with Oklahoma Senate Bill 1460. Click here to read it. The exceptions for small businesses are at the end of page 9 and the top of page 10. If the class is less that 24 hours a quarter then it is exempt.