Ohio Lawmakers Vote To Provide Online Academy ‘Safe Harbor’

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio’s Republican-led Legislature has temporarily relaxed academic performance standards on a virtual school that took in thousands of students from a now-shuttered competitor.

Senators and representatives approved companion measures during their final pre-summer session Wednesday creating “safe harbor” protections for the Toledo-based Ohio Virtual Academy.

The Virtual Academy lobbied for the protections, saying it shouldn’t be punished for taking in about 4,200 students from the former Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.

ECOT was closed by its sponsor in January after financial struggles stemming from the state’s demand that it repay nearly $80 million in unjustified public funding after over-reporting attendance.

A spokesman for Republican Gov. John Kasich says the legislation will undergo the usual review process.