Ohio online charter school ECOT may close by next week

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Ohio’s largest online charter school, may close when its semester ends next week.

ECOT has lost its sponsor, the Educational Services Center of Lake Erie, over its financial woes. It owes nearly $80 million to the state for overreporting student attendance for the last two academic years. The ESC voted Tuesday to suspend the nearly 20-year-old agreement with ECOT, the Toledo Blade reported.

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Apryl Morin, the director of community schools for Lake Erie West, said in an email that ECOT said it is unable to secure bonding for its fiscal officer, which is required by law to operate schools in Ohio.

“Given ECOT’s unequivocal declarations that it cannot afford to remain open for the remainder of the school year, [Lake Erie West] has initiated proceedings to suspend ECOT’s operations at or near the end of the current semester and terminate its sponsorship contract,” Morin told the Toledo Blade.

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ECOT has five days to appeal the end of its sponsorship to Lake Erie West.

ECOT said such a closure would affect almost 12,000 students and eliminate more than 800 jobs, the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments Feb. 13 over the state’s efforts to recoup millions from ECOT, according to the AP.

ECOT is challenging how the state tallied student logins to determine attendance.

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