Whistleblower: School Used Software to Get More State Money

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Education regulators are reviewing a whistleblower’s claims that Ohio’s then-largest online charter school used new software that it installed in 2016 to intentionally inflate attendance figures.

The individual who brought the Ohio Department of Education the information is a former employee of the now-shuttered Electronic Classroom for Tomorrow. He spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity for fear of professional repercussions for speaking out.

The school’s former lobbyist dismissed the whistleblower’s allegations. An attorney for the school’s board said he was unaware of the man’s claims. The school closed abruptly in January.

A state spokeswoman says it also challenged ECOT after finding it duplicated learning hours.

After requiring the school to start tracking student learning hours, the Education Department found it over-reported its attendance in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years.