Today’s decision by the Ohio State Board of Education to require ECOT to repay $60 million to the state based on an attendance audit serves as a reminder of what we have long said: our students need and deserve a high-quality education offered by our local public schools. Legal appeals are pending, and uncertainty remains about how and when repayments will be made, but it is clear the implication of this decision for our districts could be very significant. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “ECOT Superintendent Rick Teeters has said that any ‘claw back’ of payments could put the school into a ‘death spiral’ as money is deducted from lower payments.”
Given the 15,000 students on ECOT’s rolls who come from virtually every public-school district in Ohio, uncertainty over ECOT’s future means each of us must be well prepared to welcome former ECOT students home to our public schools. ECOT’s poor performance is well documented, and it will be critical to ensure that no student falls through the cracks because of the ongoing controversy surrounding ECOT and its dispute with the state.
The good news is we have formed a new organization, Real Choice Ohio, to help Ohio public school districts attract and retain students to ensure their success and support them on the path to high school graduation. Assistance provided by Real Choice Ohio includes research, creation and sharing of best practice materials, and training for public school districts on parent communication and student retention strategies.
Last year, ECOT received over $108 million in funding transfers, including $63 million in subsidies from local taxpayers. We are working diligently to keep these resources in our local public schools and use them to ensure that every single student, no matter their zip code, receives the high-quality education they deserve.
For more information on accessing the support of Real Choice Ohio in your district, please contact Michael Collins at email@example.com ; Cell: 614-296-5118 or Jerry Rampelt at firstname.lastname@example.org ; Cell: 614-783-5809