Innovation Ohio releases new numbers on how much taxpayer money ECOT actually received

(WSYX/WTTE)

It's being called the biggest scandal in Ohio history and it involves your money.

New analysis are out that showed the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT got away with a lot more money than first thought.

An education policy think tank, Innovation Ohio said ECOT stole nearly $200-million taxpayer dollars and that's a low estimate. Now the group is working to travel around the state to let everyone know how much money was "wasted" and hope lawmakers work on legislative reform to prevent something like this from happening again.

"Taxpayers have been ripped off by hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Innovation Ohio Education Policy Fellow Stephen Dyer.

ECOT closed its doors for good, after it was caught billing the state $80-million for students it couldn't prove for the past 2 years. Stephen Dyer with Innovation Ohio wanted to find out exactly just how much money ECOT took from the state.

"We came up with $189-million which is over 18 years, that's about 10-million a year and frankly we think it's a lot higher,” said Dyer.

For the past 18 years ECOT has been taking taxpayer money. Dyer said only 9 of those years the department of education found the school over billed the state.

"It's easily the largest scandal in Ohio political history involving taxpayer money,” he said.

According to Innovation Ohio, ECOT not only got away with millions but students were not getting a proper education.

"ECOT performance is just awful at a 53 possible grades they received 46 were F's of the 7,200 kids that graduated in 2009 and 2010 only 236 have college degrees today," said Dyer.

Dyer said now is the time lawmakers need to get to work and hopefully recoup some of that money.

"We need to have aggressive advocates for our kids and taxpayers,” Dyer stated.

This week, the house has introduced a new bill to look at changing state funding of electronic schools. We’ve contacted the Department of Education for comment but haven’t heard back.

If you want to see more about the data discovered by Innovation Ohio click here: http://innovationohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Methodology-Outline-Updated.pdf


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