Charter school failure could be largest in state history

ECOT could suspend operations Jan. 19.


Parents of more than 1,000 students across the region are scrambling to find new schools for their children just days away from what could be the largest charter school failure in state history.

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online school, notified parents this week they could suspend operations Jan. 19 as they work out issues with their sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West.

The sponsor has said ECOT’s finances won’t keep it open through the school year considering a ruling that it repay the state $60 million for over-reporting student attendance. ECOT contests that ruling.

RELATED: State withholds more money from giant online school

ECOT says it has nearly 12,000 students across the state, making it one of the state’s largest school districts. It’s as if a school district the size of Dayton’s were suddenly shutting down, said Chad Aldis, Ohio policy director for the charter school think tank Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

“It’s the largest charter school ever,” he said.

ECOT students are spread throughout the region. There are 479 students in the Dayton school district who attend ECOT, while more than a dozen other local schools have at least a classroom’s worth of students enrolled in the charter school.

Many of those students could come back to their public school district. Dayton school officials did not respond to questions Friday about how the closure could impact them.

SCHOOL NEWS: City claims Dayton schools task force not subject to open meetings law

Some parents are expected to try to enroll their children in one of Ohio’s several other online schools.

Wherever the students go, “it’s going to be a nightmare for the receiving school, but most importantly for the families involved,” Aldis said.

ECOT has a large number of high school students, and Aldis fears some may drop out instead of continuing their education.

ECOT has until next week to respond to its sponsor and offer remedies that could prevent a closure, according to the Ohio Department of Education. For the moment, the school remains operational and students can log on for classes as normal.

“If it does close, families have several options,” said Brittany Halpin, spokeswoman for the department. The department’s website, education.ohio.gov, has a “Find a school” search on the homepage. By typing in the county of residence, parents will see a list of school options that include traditional school districts offer open enrollment, online and private schools.

Parents would then need to contact the chosen school to start the enrollment process.

A spokesman for ECOT did not return a call for comment Friday.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

9-year-old girl calls 911, saves father going into anaphylactic shock
9-year-old girl calls 911, saves father going into anaphylactic shock

Firefighters in Braintree, Massachusetts, are calling a 9-year-old girl a hero after she saved her father's life. Alex Schneider usually works alone, but this time he got lucky his daughter Arianna tagged along to help. While doing a landscaping job for a friend, Schneider was mowing the lawn when he accidentally ran over a bee's nest.  If it'd...
This meal burns the most carbs during, after workout, study says
This meal burns the most carbs during, after workout, study says

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s been linked with lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, and it may also be the key to burning more carbohydrates during exercise, according to a new report. » RELATED: Eat this popular breakfast food daily to avoid heart attacks, study says Researchers from the University...
North Carolina 'kidnapping prankster' says he doesn't try to hurt anyone
North Carolina 'kidnapping prankster' says he doesn't try to hurt anyone

A mother who said a stranger grabbed her child in a neighborhood in Charlotte, North Carolina, is extremely upset about what turned out to be a prank. The man behind that prank, Sandino Davis, said it's worth the risk of getting hurt or possibly killed to pull those jokes on the streets of Charlotte. "It's a prank,” Davis said. Davis' prank...
Study: Sleep deprivation can make you feel lonely, socially distant
Study: Sleep deprivation can make you feel lonely, socially distant

If your social life is suffering, poor sleep could be to blame, according to a new report.  Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley recently conducted a study, published in the journal Nature Communications, to determine the link between sleep-deprived people and feelings of loneliness.  To do so, they used brain imaging...
Springfield woman who dedicated much of her life to tennis to be honored
Springfield woman who dedicated much of her life to tennis to be honored

Joyce Rike Engle, a Springfield resident and active member of the community, dedicated many years of her life to service at tennis associations and to the advancement of the sport. She passed away on July 29 at the age of 71 following a lengthy illness. Engle will be recognized on Thursday, Aug. 16 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Western & Southern Open...
More Stories