Ohio auditor subpoenaing data from closed online school ECOT

COLUMBUS (AP) — The state auditor is subpoenaing computer data from Ohio’s largest online charter school to preserve information should the funding dispute that caused the e-school’s closure be followed by a criminal case, his office said today.

The auditor’s office told the judge overseeing the process of closing the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow that it wants to copy data from ECOT’s remaining administrative computers and servers. That move comes ahead of an ECOT equipment sale scheduled to start next week.

ECOT attorney Christopher Hogan told Judge Michael Holbrook of Franklin County Common Pleas Court the school opposes the idea of the auditor’s office getting unfettered access to records that may include sensitive information about students, but it doesn’t object to records being preserved through proper legal processes.

“ECOT has nothing to hide,” Hogan said. “I think it’s unfortunate that we have politicians and certain elements in the media continuing to use ECOT as a talking point for data manipulation without obtaining or even trying to obtain the full story.”

The virtual school has challenged how the state tallied student participation to determine ECOT should repay tens of millions of dollars, a decision that led to its closure as it ran out of money.

Much of the recent attention on ECOT involves a former employee’s claims the school intentionally inflated attendance figures tied to its state funding.

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