Local group pushing AG Mike DeWine to keep pressure on failed online school

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Innovation Ohio and several school districts are coming forward to say they lost millions of dollars from a now defunct online school known as ECOT.

The embattled schools shut down in January.

Innovation Ohio says Attorney General Mike DeWine  is sweeping the ECOT issue under the table because his campaign received donations from former ECOT leaders.

“It’s not surprising. A lot of the folks that benefited the most from ECOT are running the show in Columbus,” said Mohamed Al- Hamandi, a Dayton Public Schools board member. 

DeWine’s office didn’t deny this finding but told 2 NEWS over the phone that they have not stopped their pursuit to punish ECOT.

An audit found that ECOT was getting tax-payer money for students they didn’t have or were not teaching anything of value to. 

On average a public school district loses $7,000 per student to a charter school like ECOT.

 Al-Hamandi stood alongside representatives from schools all over the Miami Valley. 

“A school district like ours, a public school district. A minority school district, paid the biggest price because of ECOT,” said Al-Hamandi. 

Innovation Ohio says ECOT collected around 591 million dollars from schools across Ohio since their inception.

“In 2009-2010, there was 7,261 students that graduated from ECOT. Today, 236 have college degrees,” said Stephen Dyer, a fellow at Innovation Ohio.

Dyer called ECOT a drop out factory. Saying this is, in his mind, the biggest scandal in Ohio history.

“Of the 1.1 billion dollars that went to ECOT since 2001, at least 189 million dollars of that went to kids not even in the school,” said Dyer. 

It’s money that schools want back. Innovation Ohio says “pricey” glass apples were purchased by ECOT  by the hundreds, while public schools today in Ohio can hardly afford new books. 

“The money that was stolen from the school system could have provided textbooks, higher salaries for teachers and better programs,” said one concerned parent at the press conference.

Mike DeWine’s office told 2 NEWS everything is tied up in the Ohio Supreme Court and that ECOT has been trying to make it harder for the A-Gs office.

Innovation Ohio is asking that people continue to put pressure on elected officials.

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