CLEVELAND, Ohio — Years after becoming a controversial political talking point, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow still owes the state more than $117 million, according to a state audit released Tuesday.
Ohio Auditor Keith Faber said that included $106.6 million to the Ohio Department of Education and another $10.7 million to the Attorney General. The state reached those findings after determining the online charter school, which inflated enrollment numbers, should not have received millions of dollars in state money between 2016 and 2018.
ECOT was once the largest online charter school in the state, with founder William Lager donating heavily to politicians, including Faber.
However, the department of education found in 2016 that ECOT was inflating its enrollment figures and tried to recoup $80 million dollars in state aid.
After two more years of scrutiny – and becoming a political scandal – the school closed its doors in 2018.
That same year, then-Auditor Dave Yost said in an audit that the school may have committed fraud with the enrollment figures in a bid to get more state money.
In October, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that ECOT and Lager must repay more than $60 million still owed to the state.