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Nearly All Ohio's Schools Lost Money and Students to ECOT Before it Collapsed

photo of ECOT sign
Some districts say they turned to levies to make up the losses.

A progressive think tank says data from the Ohio Department of Education’s website shows not only how much state money went to the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, but also how much traditional public school districts lost to what was the state’s largest online charter school.

Innovation Ohio notes local school districts have to pay charter schools for each of the district’s students enrolled in those charters. That added up to $591 million just to ECOT over six years, including about a half a million dollars from Federal Hocking Local in Athens County, where George Wood is the superintendent.

“It’s a teacher and an aide. It’s three times what we spend on textbooks. It’s a new bus every year. And it all went to a school district that didn’t exist called ECOT,” he said.

Some districts say they’ve had to turn to local levies to make up the losses. Innovation Ohio says all but six of Ohio’s 613 districts lost money and kids to ECOT. 

The closed school is still fighting in court over $80 million in payments the state says it should repay for inflating attendance, which ECOT disputes.