ECOT Closes. Here is the list of the school’s greatest political patrons

Now that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is closed, it pays to step back and understand why a school that the Ohio Department of Education didn’t approve in 1999 because it didn’t think ECOT could effectively account for its students was shut down 18 years later because … it couldn’t effectively account for its students.

So how was this 18 year, more than $1 billion in state taxpayer funded operation allowed to continue, despite

repeated signs they weren’t keeping track of their students? One of those signs included an audit by then-Auditor Betty Montgomery that showed ECOT had overbilled taxpayers every year between 2001 and 2005.

A big reason was ECOT founder William Lager’s political contributions, primarily to powerful Republican lawmakers. According to www.followthemoney.org (which tracks state and local campaign contributions from the early 1990s to present), Lager himself gave $1.2 million to primarily legislative candidates since 2000.

 In fact, Lager often complimented the recipients of his largess at ECOT graduations (where many of the largest recipients spoke) and thanked them for stopping efforts to close or harm the school. 

Included in those are current Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted. They are now running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Another recipient has been current Auditor Dave Yost, who is running for Attorney General. Another is Keith Faber, who is running for Auditor. Yet another recipient is Frank LaRose, who is running for Secretary of State.

The list includes Speakers of the House, Presidents of the Senate and chairmen and chairwomen of powerful legislative committees.

And while the school is now shut down, what is clear is that the reason it remained open as long as it was was because the school had powerful allies and protectors in state government.

Here is a list of the recipients who got more than $5,000 from Lager:

Candidate Name Lager Total
 CHERYL L GROSSMAN  $             46,310
 WILLIAM G BATCHELDER III  $            45,000
 MATT HUFFMAN  $            45,000
 BARBARA R SEARS  $            40,000
 STEPHANIE L KUNZE  $            33,044
 JIM BUCHY  $             31,544
 RON AMSTUTZ  $            30,000
 JOHN W ADAMS  $            30,000
 CLIFF HITE  $             29,156
 JON A HUSTED  $            27,500
 KYLE KOEHLER  $             27,188
 CLIFFORD (CLIFF) ROSENBERGER  $            24,688
 BILL COLEY  $            22,500
 LARRY OBHOF  $            22,000
 TED CELESTE  $            20,670
 MATTHEW J DOLAN  $            20,000
 KEITH LLOYD FABER  $             19,981
 DOROTHY K PELANDA  $             17,532
 JOSH MANDEL  $             17,500
 PETER J STAUTBERG  $            16,000
 TOM NIEHAUS  $             15,500
 CHRISTOPHER R WIDENER  $             15,500
 ANDREW O BRENNER  $             15,032
 DAVE BURKE  $             15,032
 GARY W CATES  $            15,000
 TODD A SNITCHLER  $            15,000
 MIKE DUFFEY  $            15,000
 KEVIN DEWINE  $            15,000
 ARMOND BUDISH  $            15,000
 SHANNON JONES  $            14,000
 MIKE DEWINE  $             12,532
 J KIRK SCHURING  $             12,532
 JIM HUGHES  $             12,500
 MARY TAYLOR  $             12,500
 JAY P GOYAL  $             12,500
 TIM GINTER  $             12,156
 JEFFERY S REZABEK  $             12,156
 RYAN SMITH  $             12,156
 BILL REINEKE  $             12,156
 MICHAEL D (MIKE) DOVILLA  $             12,156
 SCOTT OELSLAGER  $             11,500
 DAVID A YOST  $             11,395
 THOMAS F PATTON  $             11,032
 JIM CARMICHAEL  $             11,000
 MATT CARLE  $             11,000
 ANTHONY DEVITIS  $            10,500
 TROY BALDERSON  $            10,000
 THOMAS COUSINEAU  $            10,000
 DEBORAH OWENS FINK  $            10,000
 MARK WAGONER  $            10,000
 JEFFREY A MCCLAIN  $            10,000
 WILLIAM J (BILL) SEITZ  $            10,000
 LARRY L FLOWERS  $            10,000
 JAY HOTTINGER  $            10,000
 MICHAEL KEENAN  $            10,000
 FRANK LAROSE  $              8,000
 RANDALL GARDNER  $               7,750
 BOB PETERSON  $               7,500
 THOMAS RAGA  $               7,500
 JIM &  JOY PADGETT PETRO  $               7,500
 CHARLES CALVERT  $              6,000
 TIMOTHY S DERICKSON  $              6,000
 MARK J ROMANCHUK  $              5,500
 TODD M MCKENNEY  $              5,000
 LYNN R WACHTMANN  $              5,000
 GERALD L STEBELTON  $              5,000
 TONY BURKLEY  $              5,000
 JEFF KRABILL  $              5,000
 TERRY A JOHNSON  $              5,000
 DOUG GREEN  $              5,000
 SARAH M LATOURETTE  $              5,000
 BRIAN D HILL  $              5,000
 LOUIS W BLESSING JR  $              5,000
 TIM W BROWN  $              5,000
 MATTHEW A SZOLLOSI  $              5,000
 ROBERT TAFT & JENNETTE B BRADLEY  $              5,000
 JAMES L BUTLER JR  $              5,000