Bill Lager

photo of ECOT
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A judge has denied local school districts from intervening in the civil lawsuit against what was the largest online charter school in Ohio, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT). 

The Franklin County judge rejected the districts’ request to get involved in the case against ECOT, noting that the goals of the schools and the state are closely aligned. 

Dayton, Toledo, Springfield, and the other districts claimed that the attorney general’s office had close ties to ECOT’s founder Bill Lager.

KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state says the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) still owes tens of millions of dollars for students it didn’t have but was paid to educate. Last year, an audit of what was the state’s largest online charter school was turned over to the Franklin County Prosecutor and the federal government for possible criminal charges. 

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) requested a federal investigation into what happened at ECOT. So that’s stopped his work for now.

KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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.

photo of Rick Teeters
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A judge has granted Attorney General Mike DeWine permission to carry forward with his lawsuit against ECOT and the companies owned by its founder, IQ Innovations and Altair Learning Management. He is taking a few different routes to get the money.

photo of ECOT
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

What was the state’s largest online charter school has lost another round in court. It’s another blow to ECOT founder Bill Lager, who’s on the hook to pay back $60 million to the state.

Photo of the Smucker House
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, July 10:

photo of ECOT sign
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The new speaker of the Ohio House is citing a two-year-old study from a pro-charter school group slamming the performance of virtual charter schools. There may be changes coming in the laws that govern those online schools following the ECOT scandal.

In his first sit-down with reporters, Speaker Ryan Smith said a new bill would create a group to study how best to fund online charters.

photo of ECOT sign
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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.

photo of RTA blue line train
MICHAEL BARERA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, May 23:

Photo of Auditor Dave Yost
ANDY CHOW / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

The state auditor says the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow committed fraud by inflating student participation numbers in order to continue collecting millions in taxpayer money. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, the auditor is now sending his findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible criminal investigation.

After years of speculation over how many students were actually full time at ECOT -- and if the school might have fabricated  data -- Auditor Dave Yost says he now has proof.

Photo of Bill Lager
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Republican candidates on this fall’s ballot are distancing themselves from the founder of what was the state’s largest online charter school. This follows a state audit that could result in criminal charges and reports of an FBI investigation for illegal campaign contributions.

A photo of Rep. Andrew Brenner speaking at a podium.
KAREN KASLER / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Supporters of the now closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow say the past few days have been devastating for students, families, and teachers. The online charter school closed because its sponsor voted to drop them. But there are school and state officials who are holding out hope.

A photo of the ECOT sign.
KAREN KASLER / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

This week marked the end of the semester at Ohio’s largest online charter school. But the future of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow remains unclear. The school is offering a plan to the Ohio Department of Education to stay open through the end of the year. 

BILL LAGER
KAREN KASLER / WKSU

The state’s largest online charter school said in court filings last week that it will close by January if it’s forced to pay back nearly $80 million to the state from two attendance audits. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports the state auditor says that doesn’t mean the bill would be settled.

photo of Dave Yost
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Ohio’s largest online charter school, is seeing less money coming from the state because of rulings concluding it over-reported student participation. Now a state leader is suggesting ECOT could recover some of that money by taking it back from its founder’s private corporations.

photo of Bill Lager
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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.

photo of Bill Lager
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The battle between the state and its largest online charter school brought supporters of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, or ECOT, to the Statehouse. The crowd of hundreds of students, parents and teachers also included a well-known but rarely seen figure.