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School Districts Want to Take Over ECOT Lawsuit

ECOT founder Bill Lager watches speakers at a rally for the online charter school in May 2017. The school closed in January as the state said it owed back $80 million in state funds paid for students who weren't enrolled.

Two public school districts say Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine shouldn’t handle the state’s lawsuit seeking to recover millions of dollars from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. The districts are asking a Franklin County court if they can take over the lawsuit against the now-closed online charter school.

The Dayton Public Schools and the Logan Hocking Local Schools say they lost more than $21 million to ECOT in the last six years.  Attorney Ellen Kramer says DeWine has been inadequate in past cases involving public schools and that he’s compromised because of campaign donations from ECOT founder Bill Lager.

“The school districts have some serious questions about how committed the Attorney General is to helping them recover this money, and they prefer to control their own destiny in this case,” Kramer says.

The schools’ filing also claims DeWine’s possible successor as AG, Republican Dave Yost, won’t be better. The AG’s office says it has been as aggressive as legally possible, and that using an outside firm for this case would likely cost taxpayers more money.