ECOT THE SCANDAL
Well, you should be angry because ECOT is the biggest taxpayer ripoff in Ohio history and Republicans are responsible. Sadly, it’s our kids who were hurt.
ECOT – The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow – was a fraudulent, failed for-profit online charter school started by greedy businessman Bill Lager that could not have operated for nearly a dozen years without a lot of help from Republican co-conspirators in state government.
Plain and simple, ECOT and Lager took $591 million in tax dollars directly from our kids and their classrooms.
But the real scandal is that Mike DeWine, Jon Husted, Dave Yost, Kevin Faber, Frank LaRose and Robert Sprague all had the responsibility and power to stop ECOT and Lager from ripping off our schools and our kids and they chose to accept campaign contributions in return for their silence.
Lager did this in large part by lying about the number of kids that were actually enrolled in his for-profit charter school. The State paid him millions of dollars for those non-existent students.
Even more outrageous - Lager and ECOT had a lot of help from some of the most powerful and corrupt politicians in Ohio, who raked in millions of dollars in campaign contributions in return for their undying support.
The list of ECOT and Lager co-conspirators in crimes against our kids and state includes:
- Attorney General Mike DeWine, who should have brought criminal charges against ECOT and Lager years ago, but accepted campaign contributions instead.
- Secretary of State Jon Husted, who took money from ECOT and Lager and as Ohio House Speaker passed laws to protect the phony for-profit online school.
- State Auditor David Yost, who was responsible for auditing the cooked books at ECOT, but instead he ignored 200 million records sent to his office, spoke at the fraudulent online school’s commencement ceremonies, took money from ECOT and Lager, ignored two whistleblowers inside ECOT, and even presented the school in person with “The Auditor of State Award for Distinction.”
- Former Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, who used his powerful position as Senate President to make sure no one took a good look at ECOT and Lager while taking campaign contributions.
- State Senator Frank LaRose, who has spent his career in the legislature voting against our teachers and educators and for ECOT, Lager and online for-profit fraudulent charter schools.
- State Rep. Robert Sprague, who took money from ECOT and Lager and looked the other way every time a new scandal about the school erupted.
Yes, ECOT is the biggest taxpayer ripoff in Ohio history. Republicans were co-conspirators, our kids are the victims of this crime, and here is everything you need to know:
CRIMES AGAINST OUR KIDS AND OHIO TAXPAYERS:
- The scandal surrounding the now-shuttered Electronic Classrooms of Tomorrow (ECOT) is officially the largest and costliest scandal in Ohio’s history.
- $591 million in taxpayer funds were funneled to ECOT over its 18-year existence.
- Campaign contributions given to Ohio Republicans from ECOT and Bill Lager: $2.8 million.
- Ohio taxpayer dollars ECOT received between mid-2016 and mid-2017: $104.3 million.
- Number of people sent to prison: 0.
- Number of people charged with a crime: 0. https://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/08/both_democratic_and_gop_office.html
FAKE NUMBERS AND FALSE REPORTING:
- For the 2015-16 school year, the online school could only account for 6,300 of its 15,300 claimed students.
- ECOT students were paid to attend their own graduation and to take state tests.
- For one student, ECOT reported 8,857 hours in the 2016-17 school year, more time than actually exists in a year.
- The cost of ECOT falsifying attendance records: $157.2 million.
THE COVER UP:
- State audits showed problems as early as 2001.
- State Auditor, Dave Yost, failed to audit the 200 million records sent to his office.
- State Auditor, Dave Yost gave ECOT three awards for “excellent record keeping.”
- Elected officials ignored Whistleblower’s warnings and ECOT tried to silence them.
Self-Dealing Bill Lager:
- ECOT funnelled $200 million to other companies Lager owned.
- Lager collected so much personal money in fees from his state contracts that he bought a $3.7 million home in Key West with a pool and a two-story cabana, a $433,000 home on Senecaville Lake, and a $300,000 condo in Columbus.
- Lager also took taxpayer money to purchase a $995,000 home for his daughter in Upper Arlington.
- Lager and ECOT used tax dollars meant to educate children to buy extravagant furniture, a professional commercial grade chef's kitchen, expensive art, and unnecessary promotional materials - things no public school needs.