It has taken nearly 20 years, and cost Ohio taxpayers $1 billion or more, but the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) died in court this week.

The owner William Lager became a millionaire many times over, supplying goods and services to his corporation.

The “school” had a high attrition rate and the highest dropout rate of any high school in the nation, but it was protected by politicians who received campaign contributions from Lager. The contributions were piffle compared to Lager’s profits.

After embarrassing stories, the ECOT authorizer withdrew its sponsorship. The state, after years of ignoring the horrible performance of ECOT and its huge profits, eventually got around to auditing it and found many phantom students and asked ECOT for an accounting. ECOT insisted that when students turn on their computer, they were learning even if they didn’t participate in activities.

ECOT attorneys argued that the state illegally changed the rules on how to count students in the middle of a school year, and that state law did not require students to participate in class work in order to be counted for funding purposes.

Perhaps foreshadowing the final decision, as attorney Marion Little’s argued before the court in February that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow should get full funding for students even if they do no work, Chief Justice O’Connor interjected, “How is that not absurd?”

After a long battle in court, the Supreme Court voted 4-2 to support the state in its decision to force ECOT to pay back money for students who never received instruction.

Since opening the school in 2000, Lager went from financial distress to a millionaire, with his for-profit companies, IQ Innovations and Altair Learning Management, collecting about $200 million in state funding for work done on behalf of ECOT. At its peak, the school was graduating more than 2,000 students annually, but also had the highest dropout rate in the state.

Lager and his associates also donated $2.5 million to Ohio politicians and political parties, the vast majority to Republicans, with the ECOT scandal boiling into a major issue ahead of the Nov. 6 election featuring the gubernatorial race between DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray.

Be it noted that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a huge fan of online charter schools and was an investor in K12 Inc., which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Farewell, ECOT. You won’t be missed. Besides, K12 Inc. and other e-schools are rushing in to Ohio to grab your market share.