For Immediate Release: Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ohio Supreme Court Ruling on ECOT Reaffirms Dave Yost 

Had Full Authority to Stop Scam School


CLEVELAND — TODAY, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) in a 4-2 ruling, confirming the Ohio Department of Education’s action was lawful when it found the now-defunct scam charter school overbilled Ohio by millions of dollars. In addition to putting an end to ECOT’s scam once and for all, the ruling blows a huge legal hole in Auditor of State Dave Yost’s most recent argument — that he could not have stopped the school, which was run by one of his biggest donors. Yost had repeated the argument despite the fact that he now claims that for years he had “moral” issues with the school to which he gave financial bookkeeping awards and that he never even bothered to ask a court about his legal qualms.

Democratic nominee for Attorney General, Steve Dettelbach, released the following statement:

“Today’s ruling puts to rest the absurd claim used by Dave Yost and others that they couldn’t stop ECOT without a change in the rules. As the court ruled, state law required ECOT to keep participation records to substantiate its funding. Yost could have required the school to produce these records a number of times, but instead, he backed down — once within days of ECOT sending him checks.

“The enabling of ECOT by Yost and other politicians to whom ECOT gave millions serves as Exhibit A for what is wrong with Columbus. These politicians helped a big donor game the system and steal hundreds of millions from Ohio’s children at the expense of taxpayers. As Attorney General, I will use the power of the office to push hard not just to recover the hundreds of millions stolen from taxpayers by ECOT but to hold every person involved accountable — no one is above the law.”


BACKGROUND

Yost Claimed He Could Not Have Stopped ECOT’s Scam by Requiring Participation Records.

“The facts were not fully before us until the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) changed its funding documentation and review requirements,” Yost said. [Cleveland.com, 7/8/18]

“We could not have in 2014 said that we’re going to measure participation. We don’t get to decide that,” [Yost’s spokesperson] said. [Cleveland.com, 10/20/17]

But the Ohio Supreme Court has Ruled that Participation Records Were Required All Along.

“’We determine that R.C. 3314.08 is unambiguous and authorizes ODE to require an e-school to provide data of the duration of a student’s participation to substantiate that school’s funding.'” [Ohio Supreme Court Decision, Columbus Dispatch, 8/8/18]

Yost Never Even Looked At ECOT Attendance Reporting Despite Flags & Backed Down When ECOT Objected.

“Until this year, neither the state auditor’s office nor the department seriously questioned ECOT’s attendance or funding.” [Columbus Dispatch, 8/14/16]

“Teeters also testified that he persuaded state Auditor Dave Yost’s office to not request log-in durations during a special examination of the school in 2014, instead providing certifications from teachers on the number of hours that students were participating. For years, the state accepted ECOT’s word that students were attending classes and provided state funding under an agreement the courts ruled was no longer enforceable.” [Columbus Dispatch, 8/11/17]

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Steve Dettelbach, the Democratic candidate for Ohio Attorney General, is a former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and career federal prosecutor.