Another Online Charter School Locked In Fight With Ohio Ed. Department

Aug 15, 2017

An online charter school says it will not open Tuesday for the new school year because of a funding fight with Ohio education officials.

“It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that VCS Ohio will not open on August 15, 2017,” said Virtual Community School of Ohio Superintendent Jeff Nelson in a statement posted to the school’s website.

Administrators say the state is asking them to return millions of dollars in funding after changing the way enrollment is tallied. It’s a fight that might sound familiar to Ohioans.

The school says the funding change is a direct result of Ohio's fight with the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which has also been ordered to return millions of dollars in state funding.

“Over the past two years, the Ohio Department of Education has altered the way in which they believe online students should be funded. ODE’s decision has been the reason behind ECOT’s court case that you’ve likely heard and read about over the previous year. The results of this case have had a direct impact on our school,” Nelson was quoted as saying.

VCS of Ohio, like ECOT, measured attendance by the number of students enrolled. The state argues online charter schools should measure attendance by logging the amount of time students spend learning online.

Both VCS of Ohio and ECOT have argued they don't have systems in place to track the amount of time students spent logged on their websites.

Nelson says board members agreed to the temporary suspension during an meeting on July 31.

Nelson says a financial investigation, which will lead to a final decision about the school’s future, should be complete by September 1.