YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A ruling Wednesday could cost Ohio’s largest online charter school a lot of money.
A state hearing officer ruled the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) owes the state $60 million.
The Ohio Department of Education found the school improperly counted how long its students were being taught online. The school was given state funding based on the wrong figures.
The hearing officer recommends the state deduct the $60 million from future funding to ECOT.
Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni said it’s not that he’s against all online schools, but that online schools like ECOT are for-profit and don’t monitor kids’ activity to make sure they’re really learning.
“There’s no measurement in place on whether or not a student is actually engaged throughout the day. It’s whether they’re checked in in the morning and that’s how they count heads in order to get payment in the state.”
Schiavoni said the state is seeing kids move from online schools back to public schools and find they are behind in their education.
The state board of education will decide next month whether to accept the ruling.
Public schools are creating electronic learning models for students to stay in the school system.