Hamilton Journal News

Defunct charter school fights pay order

- By Laura A. Bischoff Staff Writer

A defunct online charter school is fighting an order to refund $60 million in taxpayer money that had been paid to the school.

In 2016, the Ohio Department of Education determined that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow could not back up its student participat­ion claims for the 201516 school year when it received $108.9 million in state funds. ECOT was ordered to repay $64 million — a figure that was later adjusted down to $60.35 million.

ECOT fought the order through the courts and state Board of Education and lost but it is now making another run at overturnin­g the repayment order.

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear oral arguments March 2 on the case. The question is whether ECOT has the right to appeal a state school board decision to the common pleas court.

ECOT closed its virtual doors in January 2018 and auctioned off its assets in May 2018. ECOT had been Ohio’s largest online

ECOT founder

Bill Larger speaks during a rally at the Ohio Statehouse in 2017. ECOT is fighting an order to refund $60 million in taxpayer money.

charter school, claiming enrollment of more than 15,000 students. The school first graduated students in 2001.

A state audit of ECOT was referred to the U.S. Attorney and Franklin County Prosecutor in May 2018.

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