ECOT's building, and almost everything inside, goes up for auction
From luxury leather chairs, to bottles of hand sanitizer, and desks, office supplies, 55-inch televisions and more: nearly everything at Ohio's "Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow" went up for auction Friday, months after the school abruptly shut down.
ECOT closed its doors on January 19th after financial troubles became too burdensome. School leaders are challenging a court order to pay back more than $60 million in state funding, after a judge found the school had over-reported the number of students on its rosters, potentially by thousands.
Money from the auction will most likely help to pay the eventual penalty. Gryphon USA is brokering the auction and posted the building and 3,542 items inside on its auction website for bidding.
The closure on January 19th forced thousands more real students across Ohio to find new educational options, even as they were enrolled with ECOT for the spring semester. One of those students was Chryse Stavropoulos.
"Every once in a while, she will still say something about ECOT," said Chryse's mother, Elaine. "She doesn't communicate very much, but I know she misses it."
At 19-years-old, Chryse had been with ECOT for several years of education, which her mother fervently praised as "excellent." Without ECOT, Chryse has enrolled in another Ohio online school, but Elaine says the course work is not as challenging. An in-home tutor is also attempting to fill the void.
Friday's auction slammed the door on any hope Elaine Stavropoulos had that ECOT would someday re-open.
"They're selling off the stuff. That pretty much seals the deal saying that we're done," she said.
The fine quality of some items, particularly the office furniture, brought criticism from some online commenters over the weekend. Progress Ohio, an organization that had long-criticized ECOT's use of state funding, ripped the former school in a statement.
"It's clear that ECOT cared more about their office decorations than their students," said director Monica Moran. "This adds insult to injury for the many public school students and teachers working in antiquated buildings and offices, who were ironically forced to make do with less funding because taxpayer dollars flowed through the criminal enterprise that was ECOT."
Elaine Stavropoulos feels different, and says she never considered the brand name or price of the items inside the school's headquarters.
"We had an abundance of whatever we needed," she said of her daughter's ECOT education.