Former U.S. Congressman and candidate for Ohio Auditor of State Zack Space today released the following statement following reports that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) may permanently close as soon as next week:

“From the beginning, the true victims of the ECOT farce have been Ohio children. The reports that ECOT may permanently close will again harm those same children, whose educational future is now unclear. No Ohio child or their family should ever know that fear and uncertainty. I am hopeful that the General Assembly, the Ohio Department of Education, and all other relevant government agencies will go above and beyond to ensure a smooth transition for the thousands of students who might be displaced.

But whatever becomes of ECOT, the self-interested politicians who aided and abetted this slow-motion train wreck for more than a decade must now be held accountable. The tens of thousands of Ohio children they failed deserve nothing less. The millions of Ohio taxpayers they fleeced deserve nothing less. Politicians who eagerly did ECOT’s bidding as long as founder Bill Lager handed out campaign checks — all the while knowing that the “school” was an abject failure — are now, unsurprisingly, silent. These individuals do a disservice to the concept of public service, and I am calling on every politician who took contributions from Bill Lager and other ECOT executives to donate every cent back to Ohio public schools, where it belongs.

This tragic situation is another stark reminder that Ohio’s democratic process has been fully corrupted by the influence of money and by political greed. Until the people of Ohio can reclaim their state government from self-interested politicians and wealthy special interests like ECOT, taxpayer money will continue to be used as a means to further political careers and reward big campaign contributors.

If ECOT survives this latest news, I can promise you that it won’t survive my election as Auditor of State. I will declare the books unauditable, and the flow of state money will stop because our children deserve better than this madness.”