After a unanimous vote Thursday night by its sponsor to sever ties, there is literally no tomorrow for the ECOT.
Ron Adler, who heads the charter school advocacy group the Ohio Council for Quality Education, called the department's stance "shameful" and "far too politicized", saying that the department "needs to be reeled-in by the General Assembly".
12,000 students are now forced to find new schools in the middle of the academic school year. John Borell, legal counsel for Lake Erie West, argued there was not time to do mediation, considering that, among other issues, 12,000 ECOT students needed their records organized and transferred.
"It's not something you can generalize", he said.
"I want the state of OH to recover the money", Brenner said.
Electronic Classrooms of Tomorrow, which taught 14,000 students in OH ranging from kindergarten through high school seniors, officially closed Thursday, leaving many students without a school to continue their education.More news: Aggressive Philadelphia Eagles to face Minnesota Vikings' top-ranked defense
Other online schools are an option.
If the high court rules against ECOT, Yost said two for-profit companies run by ECOT founder Bill Lager, Altair Management and IQ Innovations, are responsible for $10.7 million of the total owed by the school, while Lake Erie West owes $804,560. And in December, Ohio Supreme Court justices rejected the online school's request for an injunction or expedited appeal. That case will be heard February 13.
CMSD is a much larger district, and McIntosh says smaller cities may struggle more to find placement. Ackerman says the City Schools are prepared for the change as transitional students are not uncommon for them.
The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in the case in mid-February to determine if the Ohio Department of Education acted legally when ordering the school to repay $80 million for students who were fully funded but did not meet the state's minimum 920 hours of annual instruction. "They provide a rigorous and engaging curriculum that aligns with students' future goals and prepares them for a wide range of college and career paths".
The virtual schooling community, estimated to include several thousand students nationwide, is keeping an eye on ECOT's case because it could more broadly affect regulation of online schools and how students' participation is tracked for funding accountability.
Lewis said OSBA and its membership of more than 700 school districts are encouraging families to contact their home districts and enroll their children. Districts have accelerated their enrollment processes to get students back in school as soon as possible.More news: Langen Mcalenn Comments on Progressive Corp's FY2018 Earnings (PGR)
"Ohio's public school boards are welcoming former ECOT students back into their schools", said Richard Lewis, Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) executive director.
An explanation of all the options families have is available at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Quality-School-Choice/Understanding-Ohio-School-Options.
ECOT spokesman Neil Clark questioned the state's refusal to accept a payment compromise right after Thursday's vote. "These bureaucrats wanted blood for ECOT challenging them on their illegal and retroactive rule-making", Clark said. ECOT maintains that the state illegally changed how it funds e-schools - from just using enrollment as it had for years, to requiring participation in classes. The Department of Education had been subtracting $2.5 million per month from the school's state funding payments to repay the amount.
In a letter Thursday to Holbrook and attorneys for Lake Erie West and ECOT, state Auditor Dave Yost said his office performed a recent assessment of the school's financial condition to ensure it was accurately represented to its sponsor.
As a result, the department is deducting money from the school to recover $60 million in overpayments to the school for 2015-16 and $20 million for 2016-17.More news: Daniel Cormier Breaks Down His UFC 220 Title Fight Against Volkan Oezdemir