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Bill Lager

The former ECOT headquarters in the South Side of Columbus.
Dan Konik / Ohio Public Radio

A judge has denied local school districts from intervening in the civil lawsuit against what was the largest online charter school in Ohio, ECOT.

The state says the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow still owes tens of millions of dollars for students it didn’t have but was paid to educate. Last year, an audit of what was the state’s largest online charter school was turned over to the Franklin County Prosecutor and the federal government for possible criminal charges.

ECOT founder Bill Lager speaks to the crowd of students, parents and teachers earlier this year.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

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.

ECOT founder Bill Lager speaks to the crowd of students, parents and teachers earlier this year.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

A judge has granted Attorney General Mike DeWine permission to carry forward with his lawsuit against ECOT leaders and the companies owned by its founder. The attorney general is taking a few different routes to get back millions of dollars in public funding that went to the now-defunct online school.

The Ohio Attorney General has filed an argument in court claiming ECOT’s agreements with its management and software service companies constitute a pattern of corrupt activity. The claim echoes complaints Democratic lawmakers have lodged for years. 

ECOT statehouse rally
Julie Carr Smyth / Associated Press

Republican candidates on this fall’s ballot are moving to distance themselves from the founder of ECOT, after reports of an FBI investigation for illegal campaign contributions and the release of a critical state audit, which could result in criminal charges.

The shutdown of the state’s largest online charter school – which owes tens of millions of dollars to the state – has thousands of students searching for options in the middle of the school year. And there are also some 800 teachers and faculty from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow who are now looking for work.

ECOT founder Bill Lager speaks to the crowd of students, parents and teachers earlier this year.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

The state’s largest online charter school said in court filings last week that it will close by January if it’s forced to pay back nearly $80 million to the state from two attendance audits. But state auditor Dave Yost says that doesn’t mean the bill would be settled.

ECOT founder Bill Lager speaks to the crowd of students, parents and teachers earlier this year.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Ohio’s largest online charter school, is seeing less money coming from the state because of rulings concluding it over-reported student participation