More Ohio School Districts Say DeWine Shouldn't Lead ECOT Lawsuit

Oct 22, 2018

Two more Ohio school districts want to join in the court case against the now closed online charter school, ECOT. The districts say they don’t trust Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to fight for their best interests.

Lake Local Schools in Wood County and Springfield City Schools in Clark County are the latest districts trying to join the fight against ECOT’s founder Bill Lager.

Ellen Kramer, an attorney representing them, says DeWine has too many close ties to Lager and charter schools.

“The attorney general knew years ago that ECOT was not operating on the up-and-up and he didn’t do anything until August,” says Kramer.

ECOT still owes Ohio millions of dollars for overbilling the state. A report from the Ohio Auditor found ECOT intentionally misrepresented how many students were attending class, to boost the amount of state funding they received. DeWine wants to force Lager to cover those costs.

In September, Dayton Public Schools and the Logan Hocking Local School District asked a Franklin County court if they could take over the ECOT lawsuit. The districts, which say they lost more than $21 million in the last six years to ECOT, argue DeWine is "compromised" because he received campaign donations from Lager.

DeWine opposes the districts from intervening, saying they lack standing, their interest is substantively remote, and they lack commonality between their claims and the state’s claims.