To the editor:
The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) gets about $106 million per year in state aid for about 15,000 students. Its founder, William Lager, is a top campaign donor who has contributed to many of Ohio’s state office-holders all the way up the slate.
It seems that before the public was informed about ECOT’s attendance audit dilemma, a lot of political groundwork was stealthily put into place.
In March, State Auditor Dave Yost’s office sent ODE a letter questioning the way officials there were conducting attendance audits of online charter schools and asking the department to clarify its standards for attendance audits.
In May, David Yost called ODE one of the “worst-run” state agencies in Ohio and recommended taking regulatory oversight responsibilities away from the department.
In early July, ECOT mounted an extensive campaign, including a lawsuit, to keep attendance records away from the education department. Now, ECOT and the State Auditor are coming together and questioning ODE’s demands to track online school attendance.
It will be a travesty if ECOT is let off the hook with an excuse provided by the Ohio Auditor that the standards for the attendance audits, enacted by one of the “worst-run” state agencies in Ohio, were “not clear.”