Ohio Online Charter School Fight Becomes Political Football

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s multimillion-dollar legal dispute with an online charter school is seeping into the state’s top political races as it fuels discussions about financial and academic accountability.

Candidates discussing the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, commonly called ECOT, include Democrats in the governor’s race who blast Republicans for lax handling of charter schools. On the GOP side, the state auditor campaigning to be attorney general has advocated for recouping ECOT-related overpayments.

A University of Dayton political scientist says whether ECOT becomes more of a campaign conversation into 2018 depends on how the legal case unfolds and whether candidates cast it as part of the broader debate about Ohio’s charter school system.

ECOT is challenging how officials tallied student participation to determine if it should repay $60 million.