To the editor:

A May 14 Columbus Dispatch editorial entitled "E-school is fleecing Ohioans" expresses the opinion of those who are aware of ECOT's business scheme.

The Dispatch editorial begins: "For sheer audacity, there is no precedent for the claims to Ohio taxpayer money being made by the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. The state’s largest online school, ECOT demands more than $100 million per year from the treasury, while claiming the state – on behalf of taxpayers – has no right to document that students are actually logging in."

The ECOT practice of collecting funds from school districts without providing any evidence that students are participating in the program has been ongoing for at least 15 years.

Many state officials have been aware of this fraud – but have ignored it.

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE), after ECOT had collected in the range of $500,000,000, finally performed an audit which shows that in the 2015-16 school year alone, only about 40 percent of the students were participating in the program.

ECOT is appealing ODE's audit decision to the State Board of Education and to the judiciary to get a stamp of approval on this retched practice. ODE should have made public this fraud 15 years ago. Other state officials should have halted this outrage from day one.

If school districts had stopped taking attendance 15 years ago and collected state funds for all students, regardless of attendance, state officials would have outlawed the practice in a heartbeat. The double standard is incredulous.

Will the Ohio Legislature put an end to this fraud?

Read the Dispatch editorial in full at:

William L. Phillis
Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding