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ECOT Supporters Pin Hopes on Ohio Supreme Court Hearing

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Supporters of ECOT—the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow—say the online charter school could reopen if the Ohio Supreme Court rules in its favor during a Tuesday hearing. But students have found alternative classrooms in the three weeks since its closure.

ECOT closed its doors January 18 leaving some 12,000 students scrambling to find a new school to finish the academic year.

The state’s Big 8 school districts, located in Ohio’s largest cities, prepared to take in large numbers of ECOT students, but actual enrollment has varied.

A Youngstown City Schools representative says three students have enrolled in their district of the 125 who live in the city. Both Toledo and Canton have taken in 22 students each, and 100 enrolled in Cincinnati. Cleveland reports enrolling 113 students.

It’s likely many students found alternative online options. Ohio Virtual Academy has enrolled 4,000 new students in its second semester.

ECOT closed after its sponsor said it couldn’t afford to keep the school in operation for the remainder of the year. The state Department of Education reduced its monthly funding payments by more than $3 million after an audit showed the school wasn’t accurately tracking student participation.

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear final arguments over the reduced funding Tuesday.