Ohio lawmakers look to provide online academy ‘safe harbor’

Ohio Statehouse News
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s Republican-led Legislature is preparing to temporarily relax academic performance standards on a virtual school that took in thousands of students from a now-shuttered competitor.

The House Education Committee folded “safe harbor” protections for the Toledo-based Ohio Virtual Academy into a separate bill Tuesday and sent them for a full House vote Wednesday.

The Virtual Academy had lobbied for the protections on grounds it should not be punished for taking in about 4,200 students from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.

ECOT was closed by its sponsor in January after a protracted attendance tracking dispute.

Democrats opposed the protections. They argue the state needs to get tough on online charter schools after the state determined ECOT should repay nearly $80 million in unjustified public funding after over-reporting attendance.

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