The one statewide Republican candidate in Ohio who didn’t take campaign cash from ECOT and its disgraced founder Bill Lager — state Rep. Robert Sprague, who is running for Ohio Treasurer — stepped into a big pile of ECOT mess Tuesday, standing alongside one of Ohio’s worst ECOT stooges, state Rep. Andrew Brenner, and calling for less accountability for online schools.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Sprague joined Brenner and others at the statehouse to defend ECOT as it shuts down in the middle of the school year.
Ohio Democrats were quick to pounce on Sprague aligning himself with the pro-ECOT camp just as the failed e-charter is facing the music.
“For someone who wants to oversee Ohio taxpayer money, perhaps Robert Sprague should be more concerned about the $80 million that ECOT bilked from public schools and less concerned with defending a failed, for-profit charter school,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper in a release Tuesday night. “If Sprague doesn’t think charter schools that take public tax dollars should be held accountable for tracking their students’ attendance, then he has no business being our state treasurer.”
The release noted that in the Dispatch article Sprague pointed to the experience of the Findlay Digital Academy failing to track online student attendance and consequently owing money for it.
“They simply weren’t tracking it,” (Sprague) was quoted saying. “They never tracked those kids’ log-in and log-out times. All of a sudden they owed money, which almost shut down that school as well.”
The Ohio Democrats’ release said that this goes to the heart of the ECOT debacle — Lager’s company failed to track student attendance and overbilled the state of Ohio nearly $80 million.
“Sprague’s dismissive attitude toward basic accountability is the exact type of casual approach that led to the ECOT disaster in the first place,” Pepper said.