Auditor wants to be part of case over closure of ECOT


Associated Press

COLUMBUS

Ohio’s auditor is asking to formally get involved in court proceedings over the dismantling of what used to be the state’s largest online charter school.

Republican Auditor Dave Yost’s office took steps to preserve computer data from the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow but so far hasn’t been a party to the case before a Franklin County judge overseeing the closure of ECOT.

The e-school shut down earlier this year after the state determined ECOT should repay nearly $80 million in unjustified public funding.

The request to intervene in court is aimed at ensuring the auditor’s office remains involved in the related legal proceedings, Yost’s office said Tuesday.

Yost recently concluded ECOT might have broken the law by withholding information used in calculating payments and inflated the amount of time students spent learning, and those findings have been referred to local and federal criminal investigators.

The release of those findings occurred after an Associated Press report detailing a former ECOT employee’s allegations that school officials directed staff to manipulate attendance data to qualify for more state funding.

ECOT has challenged how the state tallied student participation for funding calculations, and it’s awaiting a ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court in that separate case.

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