Closed online charter school owes $117M to state of Ohio, auditor says

ECOT founder Bill Lager speaks at a rally at the Ohio Statehouse in 2017. State Auditor Keith Faber said the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow owes Ohio more than $117 million.

ECOT founder Bill Lager speaks at a rally at the Ohio Statehouse in 2017. Point out Auditor Keith Faber said the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow owes Ohio much more than $117 million.

The Digital Classroom of Tomorrow – an online charter university that abruptly closed in January 2018 – owes the point out a lot more than $117 million, a freshly produced state audit identified.

Ohio Auditor Keith Faber on Tuesday said the university owes $106.6 million to the state Division of Education and learning and a different $10.6 million to the Legal professional General’s business. Faber’s auditors identified that ECOT was not entitled to some of the point out funds it obtained in 2016 and 2017 and none of the income it received in 2018.

William Lager launched ECOT in 2000 and created it into the most significant on line charter faculty in Ohio. Lager also operated Altair Discovering Management Inc and IQ Improvements LLC, which contracted with ECOT to give assist products and services.

In 2016, the Ohio Section of Instruction decided that ECOT experienced been overstating the quantity of college students it served and the condition demanded repayment of $80 million. That activated a economic dying spiral for the school, which abruptly shut its virtual doors in January 2018.

In May 2018, then-condition Auditor Dave Yost issued a blistering report on the procedure and referred the audit to county and federal prosecutors for attainable investigation.

Alyssa Ruff, 10, 4th grader from Canton along with her brother Jordan, 13, 7th grader, left, cheers during an ECOT rally in May 2017. The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow closed in 2018 and now faces legal proceedings and investigations. State Auditor Keith Faber said ECOT owes Ohio more than $117 million.

Alyssa Ruff, 10, 4th grader from Canton together with her brother Jordan, 13, 7th grader, remaining, cheers in the course of an ECOT rally in Might 2017. The Digital Classroom of Tomorrow closed in 2018 and now faces authorized proceedings and investigations. State Auditor Keith Faber explained ECOT owes Ohio a lot more than $117 million.

In February 2019, the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed nearly 20 several years of campaign contribution records for the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow — an indication that the now-closed on the web charter faculty and its critical players have arrive less than federal prison investigation.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Legal professional Ken Parker did not straight away answer to a ask for for remark on any ECOT investigation.

Authorized proceedings versus ECOT, Lager and others are ongoing. In May perhaps, a Franklin County Prevalent Pleas Court docket reported Lager’s corporations very own $161.6 million.

Laura Bischoff is a reporter for the United states of america Now Community Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated information companies across Ohio.

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This write-up at first appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: ECOT owes Ohio $117 million to the state for income improperly gained