William Lager, founder of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), is spending a lot of taxpayer money on litigation. He has two cases in the Ohio Supreme Court and one in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
The most recent appeal is before the Ohio Supreme Court. This new one challenges the decision of the Franklin County Court of Appeals that would force ECOT to repay $60 million that it collected for students who rarely, if ever, log on for classes.
One of ECOT’s arguments, as reported by a July 7 article in The Columbus Dispatch is telling. ECOT argues that the effect of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) audit would be the destruction of the entire online charter system, “a system established by the General Assembly.”
Indeed, the General Assembly did in fact establish the unregulated online charter industry. Lawmakers are at fault for allowing hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent with limited or no transparency or accountability. But did the General Assembly really intend that money would be collected without evidence that students were being educated? ECOT created the license to steal. However, both ECOT and lawmakers are at fault.
It is interesting that ECOT has never attempted to convince the Court that it did in fact “educate” the 60 percent of the students ODE determined were not participating in the education process. ECOT just wants the Court to allow it to collect funds regardless of whether or not students participate.
William L. Phillis, Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding
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