The Ohio Democratic Party issued a press release Thursday evening slamming Ohio Republican politicians who enabled the ECOT scandal to get out of hand, and calling on politicians who received donations from the private, for-profit charter school while failing to hold ECOT accountable to donate those donations to public schools.

The release is shared below:

The news tonight that the Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow is likely shutting down Friday marks a shameful end for the corrupt e-charter whose schoolchildren and families will now face chaos and uncertainty mid-year as a result of ECOT’s irresponsibility.

“Making millions of dollars on the backs of Ohio kids with no regard for the quality of their education is a disgraceful way to do business, and it’s no wonder that ECOT is going to be out of business,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “This is what happens when it’s not about the kids but the money, as ECOT founder Bill Lager once bragged. But this closure does not let ECOT or the politicians who enabled it off the hook for fleecing Ohio schoolchildren and taxpayers out of nearly $80 million.”

In the short term, Ohio’s Republican leadership must do everything possible to help the thousands of students and families who are being hurt by ECOT’s biggest failure yet, Pepper said. In the months ahead, they must not allow ECOT officials to slip away without repaying the Ohio Department of Education the tens of millions of dollars they owe, he added.

“Finally, the politicians who enabled this rip-off to be perpetrated on Ohio schoolchildren must also be held accountable. Instead of watching out for our kids, they were watching out for their next election, taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in ECOT-affiliated campaign donations,” Pepper said. “They should be ashamed. They should apologize, and every penny of ECOT-related money should be donated to Ohio’s public schools.”

Far from holding ECOT accountable, Ohio Auditor Dave Yost has given ECOT awards for “excellent record keeping” while taking at least $29,000 in donations from ECOT-affiliated entities, including $7,500 while his office was working on a special investigation of the scam school. Yost is now asking Ohio voters to trust him to be the state’s top law enforcement official as Attorney General.

And Rep. Keith Faber wants to serve as Ohio Auditor of State — the office principally charged with oversight of Ohio taxpayer dollars. While serving in the Ohio House of Representatives and as Senate President, Faber supported and presided over numerous budget cycles that ensured the flow of taxpayer money to ECOT continued unabated, despite dismal results and shoddy oversight.

In his time as Senate President, Faber and his caucus took more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from for-profit charter school operators.

ECOT founder Lager has reportedly donated over $1 million to prominent Ohio Republicans since 2010, including over $25,000 directly to Faber.

“This is the exact type of corrupt political back-scratching that has voters in Ohio and across this country distrustful of and disgusted by politicians who are supposed to be serving them, but who instead go to bat for big money special interests,” Pepper said.

 

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