We can’t say we’re surprised. We’ve come to expect the worst from ECOT. The private charter school enterprise was caught bilking Ohioans out of $60 million and has now spent at least $2.25 million more in taxpayer money paying its legal fees and tens of millions more on advertising itself.
As ECOT founder Bill Lager says, “It’s not about the (expletive) children… It’s about the money.”
From the Columbus Dispatch:
ECOT has spent at least $2.25 million in taxpayers’ money to pay attorneys for its thus-far-unsuccessful fight to keep the state from basing its funding on whether students participate in daily classwork.
Rather than tighten its belt since January 2016, when the state began requiring e-schools to document student participation to receive state funding, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow has spent tens of millions of dollars on attorneys, TV ads, a lobbyist and payments to founder William Lager’s companies at the previously agreed-to rate.
And as its legal battle continued to fail, ECOT announced this summer that it would lay off 250 teachers and other employees.
Since being put on notice in early 2016 that it could owe the state $60 million because it couldn’t prove that enough students participated in classes, the public charter school has continued to pay Lager’s firms about $2 million a month, for a total of almost $33 million since the start of 2016, according to records provided in response to an Ohio Public Records request.
About $26.4 million was paid to IQ Innovations to provide online curriculum, and $6.6 million to Altair Learning Management to manage the school. Both companies are owned by Lager.
How long will Ohio’s Republican governor, Republican auditor, Republican attorney general, and Republican-led General Assembly allow this grift and exploitation of Ohio children to continue?