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Akron Superintendent Lambastes State Oversight of Charter Schools Personified by ECOT

a photo of David James

The often buttoned-down superintendent of Akron City Schools let loose when he contrasted the financial and academic standards applied to traditional public schools and charter schools. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more from today’s State of the Schools address.

David James was asked about the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, whose lawyers were downstate just a few hours earlier arguing to the Ohio Supreme Court that it should not lose state funding just because most of its students were getting little actual instructional time.

He joked that state auditors spend a lot more time watching over traditional schools.

“You can’t rip off a roll of toilet paper. They’re going to find it. How in the world $80 (million) or $90 million just show up missing? And then when the state says we want our money back because maybe you had 30 percent of the students actually taking classes but you’re getting paid for the other 70 percent – again, taxpayer money -- that’s just criminal.”

Akron had about 200 students enrolled in ECOT, which recently shut down. James said some of those returning to Akron schools have enrolled in its own on-line program. But he noted that Akron requires even the on-line students to come to schools regularly to meet with advisors and mentors.