Court: ECOT can’t delay repayment of $60M to state

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A State Board of Education hearing on ECOT scheduled for Monday will move forward.

The Franklin County Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to deny an injunction Wednesday.

The ruling clears the path for the 19-member state board of education to vote as early as Monday on whether to accept the Department of Education’s findings.

ECOT is accused of over-reporting attendance and receiving too much state funding.

In order to be considered full-time, students needed to log a minimum of 920 hours of learning.

A department of education review of online log-in durations and other documentation showed many ECOT students failed to meet that requirement.

ECOT claimed 15,322 students were full time for the 2015-2016 school year, but the review found that number was actually 6,313.

ECOT says the discrepancy is the state’s fault based on how it changed the way it verifies enrollment.

If the board accepts the findings, $60 million of the $108 million ECOT received for the 2015-2016 school year would have to be returned.

ECOT says if it has to pay that money back the school would have to be shut down.

The online charter school had the highest drop-out rate, including students who did not complete school in four years, in the country in 2016.

For the 2015-2016 school years, less than 40 percent of students graduated in four years according to Ohio School Report Cards, less than 45 percent graduated in five years.

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