ECOT’s request to switch to dropout-recovery under fire from lawmakers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) does not want to see the state allow the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) to become a dropout-recovery school without a discussion first.

As such, lawmakers are seeking an emergency oversight hearing to prevent ECOT from changing its curriculum.

They want to make sure ECOT can handle being a dropout-recovery school before they are given another cent of taxpayer dollars.

Recent state report cards showed that ECOT earned an “F,” but the Department of Education could allow ECOT to transition to a dropout-recovery school, which would immediately improve that grade.

This would allow ECOT to avoid losing the right to operate next year as a result of multiple failing grades.

State Senator Vernon Sykes says that’s just not right.

“If you’ve had ineffective ratings, then you shouldn’t be allowed to reclassify to give you the opportunity to be ineffective in another area,” said Sykes

Sykes and others in the OLBC are calling for an emergency hearing to discuss the future of ECOT.

“There is too much at stake when we are talking about real children, real lives that are at stake, to just change things in mid-stream when we know that they have some serious deficiencies in their accounting thus far,” said State Representative Stephanie Howse.

ECOT already owes the state close to $80 million in overpayments because of enrollment discrepancies they reported for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

And when it comes to verifying the requirements of becoming a dropout recovery school, the Department of Education simply takes the school’s word for it.

“We need to judge people and organizations on their past performance, not on just what they say but what they have done; and their record is outrageous,” said Sykes.

There is some question whether ECOT can meet the enrollment requirements to become a dropout recovery school, which is supposed to serve 16- to 21-year-olds.