Law & Courts

Bill Protecting Ohio E-School Heads to Governor

By Jim Provance, The Blade (Ohio) — June 28, 2018 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print


A bill shielding what is now Ohio’s largest online school and its sponsor from the negative consequences of accepting thousands of former Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow students is headed to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

The House voted 70-22 on Wednesday night to give final approval to House Bill 87 shortly after the Senate amended it with language to prevent Maumee-based Ohio Virtual Academy and its sponsor from being penalized as a direct result of poor academic performance of the roughly 4,200 students who transferred earlier this year from the now closed ECOT.

The language applies to all public schools, not just e-schools although the Ohio Virtual Academy has accepted more ECOT students than any other school. State Rep. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, chairman of the House Education Committee, said ultimately about five schools would meet the requirements for the so-called “safe harbor” provisions.

To qualify, a school’s enrollment must have increased at least 20 percent as a result of ECOT transfers.

Those students’ test scores would not count against the school’s sponsor when it comes to performance evaluations for two years. The same would be true when it comes to deciding whether the school itself would be closed for failing after three consecutive failing years—unless the school would still have received failing grades after factoring out the former ECOT students.

Before the Senate vote, Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, voiced concern that the language could turn the Ohio Virtual Academy into another ECOT.

“We’re allowing a safe harbor for another electronic school to take the ECOT students and then say to them that it’s OK if you don’t do good because we know you have students who haven’t been doing good because there hasn’t been accountability and transparency,” he said.

“So now we’re going to give you more time to work with these students that are struggling,” Mr. Schiavoni said. “That doesn’t seem sensible to me. There has to be an end road with this.”

The House also amended a separate bill, Senate Bill 216, to include some recently proposed reforms related to the funding of Internet-based charter schools in the wake of revelations that ECOT collected tens of millions in state aid for students it couldn’t prove were logged into the system long enough to qualify as full-time students.

Among them is creation of a legislative committee to study the issue during the months the General Assembly is in summer recess with a report due on Nov. 30.

“I totally agree that it is far past time to convene a group to look at these issues, debate them vigorously, and actually take action,” said Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

ECOT closed in January, sending some 12,000 students scrambling, after its Toledo-based sponsor, the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West, revoked its sponsorship. The school has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to rule that the state was out of line in retroactively seeking to recover nearly $80 million in past state aid.

But while that case has been pending, the school’s assets have been auctioned off.

The language was attached to a bill sponsored by Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, that was designed to decrease the number of state mandates placed on public schools.

“I’m sorry to say this bill has been hijacked,” Rep. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, said. “It is clear publicly elected officials want a quick fix to provide them political cover.”

Copyright (c) 2018, The Blade (Toledo, Ohio). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts Supreme Court Weighs a Type of Damages Schools Can Face in Civil Rights Lawsuits
The issue involves compensation for "emotional distress," and the case holds implications for suits brought under Title IX and other laws.
6 min read
Crumpled Up Dollar Bill
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Law & Courts Opinion What the Law Says About Parents' Rights Over Schooling
The rallying cry of “parental freedom” perpetuated racial segregation, writes a legal scholar. So why would we let it dictate curriculum?
Joshua Weishart
5 min read
People hold signs and chant during a meeting of the North Allegheny School District school board regarding the district's mask policy, at at North Allegheny Senior High School in McCandless, Pa., on Aug. 25, 2021. A growing number of school board members across the U.S. are resigning or questioning their willingness to serve as meetings have devolved into shouting contests over contentious issues including masks in schools.
People at a school board meeting in late August protest the mask policy set by the North Allegheny school district in Western Pennsylvania.
Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP
Law & Courts Justice Dept. to Pay $127.5M to Parkland Massacre Victims' Families
Attorneys for 16 of the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland said they had reached a confidential monetary settlement.
Terry Spencer, Miami Herald
2 min read
In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., following a deadly shooting at the school.
In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., following a deadly shooting at the school.
Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo
Law & Courts Can Public Money Go to Religious Schools? A Divisive Supreme Court Case Awaits
The justices will weigh Maine's exclusion of religious schools from its "tuitioning" program for students from towns without high schools.
13 min read
The Carson family pictured outside Bangor Christian School in Bangor, Maine on Nov. 5, 2021.
Institute for Justice senior attorney Michael E. Bindas, left, accompanies Amy and David Carson who flank their daughter, Olivia, outside Bangor Christian Schools in Maine in early November. The Carsons are one of two families seeking to make religious schools eligible for Maine's tuition program for students from towns without high schools.
Linda Coan O’Kresik for Education Week