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Ohio Supreme Court Rules ECOT Can't Appeal Order To Repay $60 Million

The former ECOT headquarters in the South Side of Columbus.
Dan Konik
/
Ohio Public Radio

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow must pay back $60 million in overpayments for inflated student enrollment numbers, an order that cannot be challenged.

ECOT has been fighting against repaying $60 million in overpayments based on students who were enrolled but were not participating, an order labeled final by the state board of education.

The state had been taking millions back from ECOT's monthly funding, but that stopped when the school closed in 2018.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that year against ECOT, saying the state could base funding on student participation, not on the number of students who were enrolled.

The court heard arguments in March on whether “final” means the board’s decision could be appealed to a court. Erik Clark represented the Ohio Department of Education and said the law was clear.

“The General Assembly could have said ‘final and appealable,’ as it has on other occasions, and it did not do that," Clark argued.

Four justices agreed, led by Republican Justice Pat DeWine.

Justice Sharon Kennedy and two of the court’s three Democrats, however, wrote that “final” meant no further action could be taken by the board, but that there could be an appeal in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. The third Democrat, Jennifer Brunner, did not hear the case.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.