ECOT loses at Ohio Supreme Court, still owes money back to state

August 8, 2018

ECOT loses at Ohio Supreme Court, still owes money back to state

CLEVELAND, Ohio - The ECOT online charter school has lost its appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court and its last chance at avoiding having to pay back $80 million in tax dollars it received for students it couldn’t show participated enough in their online classes.

The 4-2 vote allows rulings against the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) by the state school board and Ohio Department of Education to stand and leaves the school still on the hook for the overpayments.

The school, which closed early this year when it had trouble repaying that money, had claimed that it should be paid by its enrollment, not by how long students spend on their online classes.

But Supreme Court justices ruled that state law left leeway for the department to impose that standard.

“We determine that R.C. 3314.08 is unambiguous and authorizes ODE to require an e-school to provide data of the duration of a student’s participation to substantiate that school’s funding,” the court ruled.

A response from ECOT was not immediately available.

The Ohio Department of Education was pleased that the ruling “confirms the expectation that Ohio’s online schools document the education they provide.”

“Ultimately, this is what’s best for students and taxpayers alike,” said Brittany Halpin, spokesperson for the department. “We’re pleased the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the Department’s interpretation of the law and we remain committed to ensuring that all community schools receive their correct funding.”

We’ll have more here soon.

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