Monday, February 10, 2014

ECOT State Windfall

I just posted about Casino money distributions and it got me thinking: Not only did ECOT get the largest dollar increase ($4.4 million) of any Charter School in this last budget (that's regardless of any pupil increase), but the school received another $3 million in Straight A money (again, not tied to how many additional kids it was gaining). Add another $744,000 in Casino money and we're looking at about $8.1 million in additional state funding for this school just since July.

That means that, according to the initial Charter School projections from the 2013 budget cycle, ECOT was to receive $6,471 per pupil prior to this budget. Add the budget's increase, as well as the Straight A money, and the additional $54 per pupil the $744,000 casino revenue means (based on $744,000 divided by ECOT's current student population of 14,100), and ECOT is set to receive nearly $600 more per pupil today than they were last year. And remember, this has nothing to do with whether they have more kids. This is based on changes in state law alone.

I and others have written extensively about ECOT's real problems educating children -- a lower performance index score than any school district and a 4-year graduation rate that's a little less than 1/2 the rate of Cleveland. Equally well documented has been the fact they have zero problems contributing to politicians. 

So I'll leave it up to their chief spokesman, Nick Wilson, to explain why this school that doesn't have transportation or building costs receives more state money per pupil than all but a handful of traditional public school districts:
"We spend less than half (of what urban districts spend in state and local money combined) and achieve average to above average results,' (Wilson) said. 'That’s how I would view it.'"
Is this the best we can do?

I think online education holds enormous potential to individualize education to a level only dreamed of prior to its advent. I want online education to work. I believe it can under the right circumstances because I've seen it.

However, any school that accepts average to above average results given this enormous state investment is something that should outrage Ohio taxpayers. I don't care what school you are.