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Ohio Republican Party Returns $76,000 in Donations from ECOT Founder

photo of Bill Lager

The Ohio Republican Party has sent money back to a long-time GOP donor. The contributor, Bill Lager, is embroiled in controversy over the $100 million a year his online charter school has been collecting from the state. 

The Republican Party returned $76,000 in donations from Bill Lager, the founder of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, or ECOT.

The state education department is currently clawing back $60 million from ECOT, claiming that the school did not have enough students participate in enough hours of instruction to justify that money. ECOT counters that the law demands proof of providing learning opportunities and not the duration of a student’s participation.

A spokesperson for the Ohio Republican Party did not mention ECOT’s legal battle and simply said “at this time, it is in the best interest of the Ohio Republican Party to respectfully return those funds.”

Republican Auditor Dave Yost, who spoke at ECOT’s graduation a few years ago, has become a vocal critic of the school and questioned the amount of ongoing payments to the school.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.