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Elyria district asks for money back in symbolic move


ELYRIA — Elyria school board members joined the cadre of Ohio education officials calling for the reimbursement of state funds used to fund the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow in light of allegations from the Ohio Department of Education.

Unanimously approved Wednesday night, the resolution calls out the more than $100 million extracted annually from public school districts across the state to the online charter school. This includes Elyria, which has lost a total of $1,166,742.56 in state and local funding to ECOT.

While largely symbolic and without the teeth to force any kind of payout, the measure and similar ones from across the state aim to draw attention to the problems that have been alleged with ECOT. State investigators have found that ECOT students perform significantly lower than traditional school students do and, in addition, ECOT has been accused of having a student participation rate of just 20 percent — one hour out of the five hours per day required by the Ohio Department of Education.

As such, Elyria wants back 80 percent of the money lost or $933,394.05.

Elyria is not the only district making a claim against the online charter school.

Last month, the Keystone school board, although noting the remote odds in seeing the money, passed a resolution asking for a portion of more than $800,000 it claims that district has lost in local and state funds since 2002.

Keystone’s bill to ECOT is $644,527.19, 80 percent of what was lost in student aid and reflective of how students were only accountable for 20 percent of a school day.

The fight between ECOT and the state is now a legal one with the online charter school suing in an effort to keep its records under wraps.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

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