Online School Fighting $60M Repayment Plans to Lay Off 350

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – One of the nation’s largest online charter schools plans to lay off 350 employees next month and possibly more later after Ohio officials determined it must repay $60 million from the 2015-16 school year.

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow will lay off about a quarter of its workers, including teachers, administrators and support staff.

ECOT spokesman Neil Clark says the layoff decision was made after the Department of Education proposed that the money be deducted from the school’s monthly allocation over two years. Clark says ECOT probably will close if the repayment timeframe is less than five years.

The school of some 15,000 students still has a pending, multi-pronged legal fight over the repayment demand and how the state counted attendance to determine funding.