The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) lost in court today! This is an e-charter owned and run for profit by William Lager, who is a big donor to the Ohio GOP. The school has the lowest high school graduation rate in the nation but has never been held accountable for its poor performance.

Here is the story from Stephen Dyer of Ohio Innovation.

“Word came out a few minutes ago that ECOT’s lawsuit has failed. The school, which claimed to be the nation’s largest, now may have to repay Ohio taxpayers more than $60 million of the $109 million it received last year because the state determined ECOT could only verify it had 40 percent of the 15,000 plus kids it claimed. The state still pays ECOT so much per pupil that even with this cut(and including all of its revenue streams), ECOT can still clear as much as 22 percent profit after paying all of its staff.

“Now I know ECOT will use every maneuver to overturn this ruling from Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Jenifer French. There will be appeals.

“But what a day this is for Ohio’s kids and taxpayers.

“Since Lager opened ECOT in 2001, Ohio’s taxpayers have sent the school $903 million. If the state’s recent determination that ECOT was overpaid by 60 percent last year were applied over the last 15 years, Ohio taxpayers have sent about $540 million for kids that ECOT never really had. That’s a staggering figure. And it’s not outrageous to make that assumption because ECOT was nailed by State Auditor Jim Petro during its first year of operation for the exact same thing.

“And what have we received for that? Certainly not high-quality education. ECOT earned only Fs on the new state report card — something it also achieved two years ago under the less difficult state report card regime.”