FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: June 06, 2018 Contact: Katherine Liming – 419-956-8196, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly $600 Million Dollars Went from Local School Districts to ECOT
The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) scandal grows bigger as new data shows that $591 million of taxpayer money went to the online charter school over local school districts. Today, Innovation Ohio (IO) released new data that shows the district-by-district breakdown of money each Ohio school district lost to ECOT since 2012.
“We are trying to figure out the scope and scale of this thing,” said Stephen Dyer, IO’s Education Policy Fellow, “and today we are releasing how much has been lost to ECOT in the past six years.”
This is another piece of the growing ECOT scandal that has effected taxpayers in every corner of the state. The numbers show that all but six of Ohio’s 613 school districts lost state funding to ECOT.
In a press conference, Dyer announced the launch of the website innovationohio.org/ecot, which aims to tell the full story of the ECOT scandal. On the website, viewers can see the taxpayer money their individual district lost to ECOT over the years.
Dyer was joined by local schools officials from across the state that gave testimony to the devastation ECOT has brought to their localities.
“Maple Heights has been able to stay away from asking for new tax dollars since 2003, but are rapidly approaching the time when we will have to go back to the tax payers,” said Robert Applebaum, treasurer of Maple Heights City Schools. “With an additional $3 million paid as restitution that ECOT owes us, we would be in a position not to go back to the tax payers for several more years.”
The press conference not only focused on ECOT’s impact on Ohio school districts, but also the impact it had on the children in these schools and ECOT’s own students.
“When the smoke cleared we were advised of half a dozen students that had still not come to us to register or registered in another school,” said George Wood, superintendent of Federal Hocking Local Schools. “In each case, after reaching out to the family, we found that these students had not been logged on to ECOT in recent memory and were vastly credit deficient. None of them returned to school.”
“Schools need to be for kids, not for profit,” said Richard Murray, executive director of Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools.
To see the money your school district lost to ECOT since 2012, visit innovationohio.org/ecot.
For more information:
Full press conference can be viewed on our Facebook page
- “Non-Disparagement. You agree that you have not and will not make statements to anyone that are in any way disparaging or negative toward ECOT, including disparaging remarks about individuals associated with ECOT or the services it provides.”
- “Waiver & Release of Employment Claims. You, for yourself and your successors, assigns, heirs, agents and legal representatives, knowingly and voluntarily agree to waive and release ECOT, including its directors, officers, employees, representatives and agents, and its related, affiliate, and associated companies (including without limitation the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West and Altair Learning Management) (collectively, ‘Released Parties’), from any and all claims, causes of action, and liabilities of any kind, known or unknown, in law or in equity, that you had or have as of the effective date of this Agreement, and that are in any way connected with or arise out of your employment or the termination of your employment with ECOT, including but not limited to claims, causes of action and liabilities….”
ECOT Chickens Come Home to RoostNow that a courageous whistleblower has come forward to reveal compelling evidence that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow engaged in a scheme to defraud Ohio taxpayers out of millions of dollars to educate children they never really had, it’s clear the rats are running fast from the former e-school giant. However, their past is riddled with examples of protection granted by powerful Ohio politicians, including ones now talking “tough” about ECOT. The issue has been bounced upon by statewide candidates, while those who benefited from millions of dollars worth of ECOT-related campaign contributions are ducking for cover. The reason is because now that it’s pretty clear that ECOT officials tried to subvert the system to keep getting paid for kids they didn’t really educate, criminal investigations may soon begin. And that’s bad for many politicians because this same whistleblower contacted them on several occasions and was met with inaction. This issue is dangerous for so many politicians because so many politicians took so many greenbacks from ECOT officials, especially the school’s founder, William Lager. Now that Lager may be facing serious legal entanglements, politicians who spoke at their graduations, or took honorary degrees from school officials are paying for their unwillingness to hold this school to account for 18 years. ECOT was caught overcharging the state in its first year of existence. Only 109 of more than 3,700 graduates from 2010 have college degrees today. But ECOT was allowed to continue defrauding taxpayers and, worst of all, the children and parents who were fooled into thinking ECOT was an educational operation rather than what it really was: A $1 billion taxpayer boondoggle. And now newspaper editorial boards are pointing out the obvious: ECOT is now politically radioactive. As the Toledo Blade said this morning:
Ohio’s student reimbursement money is as sacred as any taxpayer money can be. It is a duty of lawmakers to make sure that it is distributed scandal-free and with strict regard to fairness and honesty. The state of Ohio failed miserably in that regard with ECOT, and the children of Ohio are the victims.Sign up to get our Education updates in your inbox