Judge Won't Stop Audit of Ohio's Largest Online Charter

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by Michelle Faust

The largest online charter school in the state took the Ohio Department of Education to court Monday. The judge ruled the state’s audit of attendance records can go forward.

Franklin County Judge Stephen McIntoch denied a temporary restraining order that Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT had requested to keep the state from performing an audit that school representatives say could shut them down.

At issue is how many hours actually equal student learning time. A traditional in-person student spends about 5 hours at school—online charter students are expected to do the same.  Those hours help calculate attendance for both types of schools.

State Board of Education President Tom Gunlock says schools need a single standard.

"Either you’re in school or not in school. So, it’s kind of hard to learn if you’re not actually in it," says Gunlock.

The online school could lose millions in state funding if the state determines they have less than the 15 thousand students they claim to have enrolled.

The audit has been postponed twice prior to the lawsuit. ECOT's case against ODE will continue.


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