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$591M went to ECOT over local school districts -- of that nearly $9.6M came from TPS

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) scandal has grown thanks to new data which shows that $591 million of taxpayer money went to ECOT over local school districts.

OHIO (WTOL) - The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) scandal has grown thanks to new data that shows that $591 million of taxpayer money went to ECOT over local school districts.

Innovation Ohio (IO) released new data on Wednesday that showed how much money each Ohio school district lost to the online charter school since 2012.

"We are trying to figure out the scope and scale of this thing," said Stephen Dyer, IO's Education Policy Fellow, "and today we are releasing how much has been lost to ECOT in the past six years."

The growing scandal has impacted taxpayers in every corner of the state. The data shows that all but six of Ohio's 613 school districts lost funding to ECOT.

ESC of Lake Erie West is affiliated with nine districts in Lucas and Wood counties (Anthony Wayne, Maumee, Oregon, Ottawa Hills, Perrysburg, Rossford, Springfield, Sylvania and Washington Local. It is also a chartering agency and community school sponsor for the ECOT program.

According to IO, the six-year total that it cost Toledo Public Schools was $9,590,036. That was the sixth-highest amount reported throughout the state.  Washington Local was the next highest at $1,913,354. Sandusky City Schools in Erie County had $1,484,602 diverted to ECOT over the six years, while Tiffin City Schools in Seneca County had $1,132,869. Rounding out regional schools that saw a million dollars or more diverted was Norwalk City Schools with $1,006,214.
Other school district amounts over the six-year period were:

  • Sylvania: $997,886
  • Findlay: $976,085
  • Willard: $897,816
  • Fostoria: $859,679
  • Fremont: $745,113
  • New London: $742,318
  • Van Wert: $699,957
  • Vermilion: $589,804
  • North Baltimore: $525,647
  • Springfield: $520,891
  • Bowling Green: $505,854
  • Oregon: $454,794
  • Bellevue: $422,744
  • Lake Local: $417,158
  • Port Clinton: $400,888
  • Western Reserve: $370,290
  • Lakota: $358,823
  • Clyde/Green Springs: $337,958
  • Perkins: $328,603
  • Edison: $327,321
  • Rossford: $283,258
  • Wauseon: $279,544
  • Huron: $275,401
  • Swanton: $271,360
  • Pike-Delta-York: $270,070
  • Elmwood: $245,489
  • Anthony Wayne:  $233,152
  • South Central Local: $233,004
  • Cory-Rawson: $232,358
  • Maumee: $227,878
  • Benton Carroll Salem: $222,060
  • Gibsonburg: $191,163
  • Eastwood: $189,986
  • Woodmore: $187,502
  • Perrysburg: $160,630
  • Evergreen: $158,868
  • Margaretta: $158,508
  • Hopewell-Loudon: $148,030
  • Otsego: $110,001
  • Seneca East: $106,267
  • Danbury: $101,712
  • Monroeville: $99,333
  • Northwood: $88,638
  • Old Fort: $78,394
  • Archbold: $67,166
  • Pettisville: $65,961
  • Liberty Benton: $61,138
  • Bettsville: $60,875
  • Crestview: $44,035
  • Arcadia: $33,526
  • Van Buren: $26,837
  • Fayette: $24,031
  • Liberty Center: $21,958
  • Ottawa Hills: $17,024
  • Vanlue: $13,518
  • New Riegel: $3,784

In a press conference, Dyer announced the launch of the website innovationohio.org/ecot, which aims to tell the full story of the scandal.

On the website, viewers can see the taxpayer dollars their individual district lost to ECOT over the years.

Dyer was joined by local schools officials from across the state who spoke out about how ECOT has impacted their districts.

"Maple Heights has been able to stay away from asking for new tax dollars since 2003, but are rapidly approaching the time when we will have to go back to the tax payers," said Robert Applebaum, treasurer of Maple Heights City Schools. "With an additional $3 million paid as restitution that ECOT owes us, we would be in a position not to go back to the tax payers for several more years."

The press conference also looked at the impact it had on the children in these schools and at ECOT's own students.

"When the smoke cleared we were advised of half a dozen students that had still not come to us to register or registered in another school," said George Wood, superintendent of Federal Hocking Local Schools. "In each case, after reaching out to the family, we found that these students had not been logged on to ECOT in recent memory and were vastly credit deficient.  None of them returned to school."

"Schools need to be for kids, not for profit," said Richard Murray, executive director of Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools.

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