COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - UPDATE: 01/24/18 5:30 P.M.
The giant Ohio online charter school that abruptly closed mid-school-year says it's fighting to reopen but has lost another round of its legal battle with the state over funding.
The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow is challenging how Ohio tallied student participation to determine the publicly funded e-school was overpaid.
Ohio already started recouping $60 million from the 2015-16 school year. The Department of Education also concluded ECOT was overpaid by $19 million for 2016-17, and the lawyer who considered ECOT's appeal of that in an informal hearing sided with the state Monday.
He's recommending the state Board of Education move to recoup that money, too.
Meanwhile, many of ECOT's 12,000 students are seeking new schools after the required oversight entity known as its sponsor suspended ECOT's operations last week.
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ORIGINAL STORY: 01/19/18 9:57 A.M.
One of the nation's largest online charter schools is closing abruptly halfway through the academic year.
That means families of the roughly 12,000 Ohio students from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow are scrambling to arrange other schooling options.
The publicly funded e-school has been running out of money amid a legal dispute with the state. ECOT's closure shifted from a possibility to a reality when the required oversight entity known as its sponsor decided Thursday to suspend that arrangement. ECOT says the state rejected a proposal from the e-school that was aimed at keeping it open through the spring.
Ohio's public school districts would have to accept any returning local ECOT students, but some families refuse to go back to those schools. Some are considering other virtual schools or homeschooling.