Amid Ohio Online School’s Funding Fight, Other Cases Stall

Posted on:

< < Back to

CLEVELAND (AP) — A legal fight with Ohio’s largest online charter school over $64 million has stalled efforts to recover millions more from eight other virtual schools and delayed potential changes to how they’re evaluated and funded.

The state auditor has urged lawmakers to come up with a better way of measuring how those schools perform and whether they’re appropriately funded, but it’s not likely that the Legislature will take action before summer break or that any such changes will be in place next school year, The Plain Dealer reported.

“There’s a lot of reasons why this hasn’t moved quickly,” said Rep. Andrew Brenner, the chairman of the House Education Committee.

It’s a slow, complicated discussion, but one big factor in the holdup is the case involving the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Brenner said. Lawmakers, state officials, e-schools and other observers are watching to see how the case shakes out in court.

The state contends that ECOT and other schools owe repayments because they couldn’t prove all their students were actually logging on and being educated. The schools say they couldn’t provide that specific data because they weren’t required to collect or submit it previously and, until last year, the state had paid them based on enrollment.

That put in question about $64 million in state tax funding to ECOT and about $20 million combined for eight other virtual schools.

ECOT lost its challenge in county court and has appealed to a state court.

The other e-schools facing possible repayments because of problems with their attendance reviews say they haven’t been told why their cases are taking so long to resolve, but at least some point to the wait to see what happens with ECOT.