TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, known as ECOT was forced to close mid-semester because they can't continue to pay the bills through the end of the school year.
Board members for the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West, the former sponsor of the school, held a meeting to decide whether or not efforts to stay open would be possible, Tuesday night.
Without a sponsor, ECOT cannot legally remain in operation.
Ultimately, the board decided to stay with their decision to no longer sponsor the school. Members voted unanimously to confirm the appointment an Interim Master, who will oversee what's left of the funding, and complete closure of the school for this year.
John Borell, Jr. is an attorney representing the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. Borell explained what is next following the decision.
"The school closed on Thursday so all those kids had to go to another school. So that's some of what the Interim Master will do is supervise help getting the records from ECOT to new schools, but they all have to go to new schools," he said.
This displaces thousands of Ohio students and puts hundreds of teachers out of work.
Currently, The Ohio Supreme Court is deciding whether or not ECOT will be able to retain some of the funds lost from a state audit of classroom procedures that incidentally cost the school millions of dollars.
If the measure doesn't pass, ECOT will be shut down for good. A verdict is expected next month.
ECOT teacher, Heather Townley was present for the board's decision and still remains hopeful.
"This decision means that we get to try to continue until we hear more," said Townley.
Kevin Dalton, President, Toledo Federation of Teachers is confident that Toledo Public schools is ready to take on the extra students.
"Local districts including Toledo Public Schools and the surrounding districts are making plans and opening up doors to receive the students back to their home schools. I hope that the teachers of ECOT are able to find a spot to land and become educators. I don't believe they're held at fault at all," said Dalton.
Toledo Public Schools plans to accommodate these families locally. TPS is hosting two information sessions for those who have been displaced as the result of ECOT's closing.
The meetings will be to discuss educational needs and possible enrollment at a TPS school. Students are expected to bring transcripts, state test scores, and any other educational documents. Administrators from across the district plan to be at these meetings to answer questions and assist with the enrollment process.
The dates and locations are listed below:
- Thursday, January 25th at 5:30 p.m. at 1609 N. Summit Street – Thurgood Marshall Board Room (parking available in the lot off Bush Street – at the corner of Bush and Summit)
- Monday, January 29th at 5:30 p.m. at Waite High School – 301 Morrison Drive
If families are unable to attend either of these meetings, they are encouraged to contact Heather Baker, Executive Director of Pupil Placement, at 419-671-0812 with questions.
Elsewhere throughout the state, you can call 877-644-6338 or email FindASchool@education.ohio.gov for further options.