Get Politics Out Of ECOT Dispute

The Intelligencer: Wheeling News-Register | Editorial

With all the issues over which Democrats and Republicans should be doing battle in Ohio, it is a puzzle why some have chosen to focus on the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. There is no good reason for any disagreement about ECOT.

ECOT is an entirely online institution which is among charter schools that receive state funding as alternatives to public education. Some Democrats insist the company has received kid-glove treatment from Republicans, in part because of political contributions.

Of course, ECOT’s most dangerous foe in state government has been Auditor Dave Yost, a Republican who is running for attorney general. It was Yost and others in his office who first raised questions about whether ECOT was collecting taxpayer funds to which it was not entitled.

During the 2015-16 school year, ECOT officials claimed they had more than 15,000 online students, for which they should be paid. A closer look, insisted upon by Yost, disclosed that fewer than half that number had logged on to ECOT with enough frequency to be deemed full-time students.

That prompted state officials to demand ECOT pay back about $80 million overpaid to it by the state.

Read the full op-ed here.