Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), was paid for 9,000 more students than it should have been paid in 2016, according to an Ohio Department of Education enrollment audit. The Ohio Department of Education told the school that it only had proper documentation for 6,300 of its 15,300 students.
A state hearing officer ruled against ECOT in its appeal of ODE’s determination that the school owes $64 million for enrollment that can’t be documented. The hearing officer recommended that the state school board collect overpayments from the school or deduct the sum it owes from future payments.
On Monday June 12, the State Board of Education of Ohio will decide whether to accept or reject the hearing officer’s report on the ECOT student enrollment/participation matter. ECOT had appealed the decision of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) that ECOT could not validate the participation of 60 percent of its students during 2015-2016 school year. The State Board of Education had engaged a hearing officer to consider the appeal. The hearing officer ruled in favor of ODE which means that ECOT is obligated to pay back $60 million. (Wm. Phillis, Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy)
Public Education Partners encourages all Ohioans to send letters to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Paolo DeMaria, and to the esteemed members of the State Board of Education to request that funds diverted from their school district budgets to ECOT be returned to their local school districts. PEP sent the following letter:
During your June 12th BOE meeting, please vote to make sure that ECOT reimburses the $60+ million it owes Ohio school districts for 60% of its students whose class participation could not be verified. It’s a small price for Bill Lager to pay compared to the millions and millions of tax dollars our state has given to his unaccountable online school and related businesses for the last 16-17 years.
Please exert your power as our state Board of Education to collect the amount, and then order that the money be returned to the local school districts from which it was transferred.
Look at the money that’s been transferred from Ohio public school districts to ECOT during the 2015-16 school year:
Columbus City $11,744,302.64, Cleveland Municipal $6,931,517.75, Dayton City $3,597,673.50, South-Western City $3,066,207.35, Cincinnati City $2,790,063.53, Toledo City $1,992,107.94, Akron City $1,705,463.86, Hamilton City $1,300,617.23, Groveport Madison Local $1,229,666.61, Elyria City $1,170,649.73, Parma City $1,130,063.42, Warren City $1,111,737.36, Lorain City $991,340.65, Middletown City $826,577.52, Canton City $798,659.64, Mansfield City $754,528.94, Lima City $753,442.77, Huber Heights City $747,660.76, Westerville City $740,563.94, Youngstown City $728,117.37, West Clermont Local $720,475.73, Lancaster City $710,220.90, Euclid City $681,004.69, Springfield City $596,603.50, Berea City $577,143.54, Northwest Local $577,116.84, Xenia Community City $558,750.84, Newark City $492,043.88, Delaware City $477,222.72, Willoughby-Eastlake City $476,145.94, Hamilton Local $461,377.03, Hilliard City $459,453.20, Trotwood-Madison City $450,483.75, Ashtabula Area City $447,237.66, Kettering City $446,738.66, Portsmouth City $444,121.93, Maple Heights City $442,776.20, Mount Vernon City $441,619.76, Whitehall City $438,718.92, Cleveland Hts-Univ Hts City $436,945.21, Brunswick City $419,335.86, Mount Healthy City $417,642.09, Circleville City $416,652.34, Fairfield City $414,308.64, Niles City $403,059.42, Sidney City $402,569.53, Reynoldsburg City $392,550.53, Pickerington Local $391,712.19, Barberton City $388,495.73, Licking Heights Local $382,304.52, Chillicothe City $378,317.36, Garfield Heights City $377,480.87, Mad River Local $370,947.59, Lakota Local $361,005.90, Ravenna City $355,150.74, Piqua City $351,838.36, West Carrollton City $345,523.08, Worthington City $340,198.48, Oak Hills Local $338,436.46, Marysville Ex Vill $325,761.84, Madison Local $324,667.78, Teays Valley Local $322,416.78, Washington Local $318,804.62, Riverside Local $317,310.38, Wilmington City $307,221.20, Fairborn City $305,696.00, Washington Court House City $299,676.86, Gahanna-Jefferson City $299,474.28, Alliance City $295,013.75, Mentor Ex Vill $294,843.08, Lakewood City $294,424.75, Painesville City Local $293,200.72, Miamisburg City $287,456.34, Northmont City $285,690.01, Eaton Community Schools City $283,260.79, Marion City $282,823.92, Franklin City $277,134.08, Bedford City $276,913.11, Logan-Hocking Local $271,824.59, Beavercreek City $265,492.09, Hillsboro City $259,577.18, Midview Local $259,335.68, Conneaut Area City $258,660.22, Southwest Licking Local $258,422.04, Batavia Local $257,910.50, Chardon Local $256,095.21, Canal Winchester Local $254,620.34, Cloverleaf Local $251,637.80, Madison Local $251,277.68, Cuyahoga Falls City $251,193.81, Sandusky City $248,095.87, Southwest Local $244,897.55, North Royalton City $241,140.61, Tiffin City $234,802.60, Green Local $230,409.81, South Point Local $227,149.02, Paulding Ex Village $226,523.18, South Euclid-Lyndhurst City $221,661.46, Strongsville City $220,536.62, Troy City $220,458.40.
Those transfers total over $108.5 million for ONE school year. Just imagine what the local school districts, where the majority of Ohio’s children go to school, could do with a 60% reimbursement!
Here are the easy-to-copy-and-paste addresses of the superintendent and the BOE members:
The State Board’s hearing officer recommended that it use its power to collect overpayments from ECOT, so please advise them to accept those recommendations.
Send a letter to the State Board of Education of Ohio TODAY!