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Northeast Ohio Schools Prepare For Influx Of ECOT Students

While some smaller Ohio school districts are reportedly worried about overcrowding, Northeast Ohio’s largest districts say they’re prepared to take in ECOT students should the online charter close.

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow’s charter sponsor pulled its support Thursday, which could leave as many as 12,000 students looking for a new school as soon as next week.

Akron Public Schools Communications Director Mark Williamson said there are 200 ECOT students living in the district and they would "love to have" them come back to the public school system.

“We’re big, we have a lot of room, we have a lot of space, so we would easily accommodate 200 more students and more than that,” Williamson said.

Youngstown City Schools reports 125 ECOT students live in its district boundaries. Spokeswoman for the district Denise Dick said Friday Youngstown hadn't made specifc plans do deal with potential new enrollment, but was "confident we will be able to absorb them into our schools."

In Cleveland, the Metropolitan School District said about 800 students that would be in its classrooms are enrolled in ECOT, although a district spokesperson explained there is some confusion over whether all of those students are enrolled full-time with the charter.

Williamson said Akron began communicating with ECOT parents last year as concerns over its funding came to light in a legal battle that continues in the state Supreme Court. Letters to parents, he said, conveyed one thing: APS can provide stability.

“If you are concerned, you don’t have the confidence that your child is going to have a school to go to in a month or in a year, come to us," he said. "We’ll be here.”

Williamson said Akron has an online learning program of its own that serves grades K-12 and it would be an option for ECOT students.

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