“As a responsible steward of public funds, the department has an obligation to take steps to ensure that ECOT is not receiving an overpayment of public funds,” DeMaria said in his letter to ECOT.
Auditor of State Dave Yost on July 20 had urged DeMaria to place a portion of ECOT’s future funding in escrow, because he believed the school was still being funded on inflated enrollment numbers.
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Like other Ohio schools, ECOT’s July, August and September state payments are based on last year’s enrollment, which the school stated at about 14,000. But the state has already determined that ECOT’s 2015-16 enrollment was closer to 6,000 full-time students than the 15,000 it claimed. ODE is still in the process of reviewing ECOT’s 2016-17 enrollment.
“This decision by Superintendent DeMaria and (ODE) is an excellent response to what appears to be an inflated request for student funding,” Yost said. “It’s clear the Superintendent shares my concern that any overfunding might be lost if ECOT closes – a prospect that was raised when ECOT’s executives said the school was in a ‘death spiral.’ I applaud this move to protect tax dollars.”