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Auditor Says ECOT Should Target Vendors For Repayment

ECOT founder Bill Lager speaks to the crowd of students, parents and teachers earlier this year.
Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio
ECOT founder Bill Lager speaks at an ECOT rally outside the Ohio Statehouse. In addition to ECOT, Lager also owns many of the school's vendors.

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Ohio’s largest online charter school, is seeing less money coming from the state because of rulings concluding it over-reported student participation

As the state claws back $60 million from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Auditor Dave Yost says ECOT should seek reimbursement from their private vendors, which are owned by ECOT’s founder.

Yost’s directive would apply to all charter schools that are overpaid. In ECOT’s case, he says those vendors for software and administrative services got paid for work they didn’t do.

According to Yost, this ensures that more money stays with the actual school, benefiting the students they do have.

“You’re a public entity, you’re a public, you owe this to the taxpayers, you owe this to the state, you owe this to the children to go retrieve those resources and use those for the mission of your school," Yost said.

The directive hits ECOT especially hard since the school would be recovering money from companies owned by ECOT founder Bill Lager.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.