Schiavoni calls for criminal investigation into ECOT

COLUMBUS — Ohio Sen. Joe Schiavoni and his gubernatorial running mate, State Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd, have called for a criminal investigation into the Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow charter school.

The school closed earlier this year after the state ordered it to pay back $80 million in overpayments for the last two school years.

An Associated Press report alerted the public to communications between an ECOT whistleblower and the Ohio Department of Education.

A former technology employee of the now-shuttered Electronic Classroom for Tomorrow said he told the Ohio Department of Education last year that school officials ordered staff to manipulate student data with software obtained following the state’s demand that it return $60 million in overpayments for the 2015-2016 school year.

The employee spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of professional repercussions for speaking out. His concerns were first raised in an Aug. 3 email to the state a month before it released its 2017 attendance review of ECOT.

“Now we know a whistelblower has been saying for months that ECOT intentionally took unearned money from the state,” Schiavoni said. “Where has Attorney General [Mike] DeWine been all this time?”

“Our constituents expect us to take action to prevent schools like ECOT from failing their children,” Dodd said. “We cannot allow ECOT’s closure to allow major players to walk free if these overpayments were intentional.”

With AP reports

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