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Friday, October 6, 2017

ECOT's Dubiously Claims it will Close in December

Call it a hunch, but I'm betting dollars to donuts that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow's claim in a court filing today that it will close in December if a case doesn't go its way is a bluff to get the Ohio Supreme Court to rule for the school.

According to ECOT's filing, the state's $60 million clawback of taxpayer money ECOT was paid for kids it couldn't prove it had during the 2015-2016 school year will force the school to close in December.

Here's the thing, though. The money "crunch" ECOT is claiming will kill it in December should be there right now. In other words, if that $2.5 million per month deduction the state is taking from ECOT was so onerous, it would have forced the school to close already. Yet the school's already paid back $5 million of their misbegotten money.

But the fact is this: Even with the school's $30 million payment to ODE this school year (ODE split the $60 million into two years of monthly payments), they will still be receiving $73 million, or $5,183 per student from the state. That's still more than what 52 percent of Ohio's school districts receive from the state.

I remind you that ECOT doesn't have buildings, HVAC, busing, lunch ladies, etc. Yet the state pays them more per pupil than more than 1/2 of school districts that do have those costs.

Only in Ohio.

Anyway, that $73 million ECOT would still receive would allow them to pay their teachers, give $2,000 laptops to every student this year (which they do NOT do) and still clear a handsome profit. Just not quite as handsome as its politically connected founder, Bill Lager, is used to receiving. And that's assuming it actually has 14,000 students, which is a dubious proposition given the state's continued inability to find that the school has anywhere near as many kids as it bills taxpayers for educating.

How else do I think it's a bluff? Because according to ECOT's own academic calendar, (at left) they are not just preparing for life after December, but they already have their summer school session laid out for 2018.

I've gone over all this before. But suffice it to say that if ECOT closes in December (which I'm not buying right now), it likely will be because the train can't provide enough gravy. As with most everything about ECOT, the issue won't be about whether it can educate kids. It will be about whether it can further fatten the wallets of the adults ECOT enriches.

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