COLUMBUS (WCMH) –A court appointed master will oversee the assets and student records of ECOT – the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. The school closed this week after its sponsor, the Educational Service Center Lake Erie West, voted to withdraw its support.
ECOT was the Ohio’s largest online charter school with approximately 12,000 students. The state and courts have ordered ECOT to repay the state $60 – $80 million for overstating it’s enrollment.
ECOT attorney Marion Little said unlike a court appointed “receiver”, a master will not start winding down the business.
A master, he said, will preserve the assets and student records while the school continues to challenge the state’s decision.
“This gives ECOT an opportunity to have its day in court which is very important not us,” Little said. “It gives ECOT an opportunity to recover the funds we believe the Department of Education has inappropriately clawed back from us and finally it gives us an opportunity to restart the operation and service the students once again.”
The state has been withholding $2.5 million per month from ECOT in an attempt to recover some of the money it believes was overpaid in past years.
The school’s appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court is scheduled to be heard next month
The state says districts and schools have already taken steps to streamline and accelerate the enrollment of ECOT students.
But for parents like Elaine Stavropoulos, its a matter of finding the right fit and a school that’s willing to accept her 19 year old autistic daughter Chryse.
“I’ve been calling schools all morning,” Stavropoulos said. “She’s a senior. They don’t want seniors right now. Their cap is over for the seniors right now because they only have a few more months to finish.”
Jennifer Lawson’s 7th grader clicked her way to success and knowledge though ECOT. She sad to see the school is now closed.
“My children have been in ECOT for 8 years, and to just rip them out of what they’re most used to,” said Lawson.
She and her kids now realize those relationships are over. She’s worried about the futures of those teachers.
“I can’t even begin to think about what they’re facing right now,” said Lawson.