Auditor wants court to stop ECOT’s TV ads

The Columbus Dispatch | Marty Schladen

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost wants a court to stop ECOT from using taxpayer dollars to advertise on television.

The state Board of Education says the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow owes $60 million for instructional hours for which it billed the state but can’t show it provided students. The school has been buying the ads to fight the order in the court of public opinion even as it says it has to lay off hundreds of teachers.

Yost sent the school a cease-and-desist letter Friday demanding that the taxpayer-funded ads be stopped. Yost said that as of Thursday, he hadn’t heard back from the giant charter school.

“We haven’t heard a word from ECOT — not even that they’ve received the letter,” Yost said in a statement.

In a phone interview, Yost said if ECOT were allowed to continue the ads, it would signal to other state agencies that they could use taxpayer dollars on political campaigns.

“This is a very dangerous precedent — where money can be taken by force from taxpayers to tell the legislature what to do,” Yost said.

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