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Education

ECOT Loses Appeal, Is Ordered To Return $60 Million In Funding For Full-Time Students It Can't Prove

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Karen Kasler
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ECOT board president Andrew Brush addresses a Statehouse rally just hours before the ruling.

A state hearing officer has dealt another blow to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow - the state's largest online charter school - in its battle with the state.

Before several hundred students, parents and staffers in a rally at the Statehouse, ECOT board president Andrew Brush said the school was in a fight for the future of education in Ohio. “And in this fight, we don’t want special treatment. We merely want the right to fair treatment and equal protection under the law,” Brush said.

Just hours later, a state hearing officer sided with an Ohio Department of Education audit showing that ECOT could prove only about 40% of the more than 15,000 full time students it was paid for. He ordered ECOT return $60 million, or the money could be deducted from future payments. ECOT had appealed ODE’s claim, saying the state unfairly changed how students are to be counted. The state board of education will take up the hearing officer’s ruling at its June meeting.

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