Virtual School Meanderings

January 7, 2014

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Ohio Edition

Not to pick on just K12, Inc., let’s post an Ohio edition of Your Tax Dollars at Work.  Shortly before the holidays, Diane Ravitch alerted me to a Charter Founder in Ohio Makes Large Political Contributions, Gets Rich.  The original source for this issue came across Diane’s desk from a Plunderbund blog entry entitled ECOT Founder Living VERY Well Off Ohio’s School Funding Dollars.

For those who are unfamiliar, ECOT or the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow is the largest cyber charter school in Ohio.  According to Greg at the Plunderbund blog, ECOT was about to receive

a “bonus” check of $2.9 million that would be quickly rerouted into ECOT owner William Lager’s other private businesses.  This is not the first raise that ECOT has received this year.  Through the Kasich budget passed this summer, ECOT received the largest increase in state funding for any charter school in Ohio at $4.8 million.  This far surpassed the second largest increase of $1.35 million given to Ohio Virtual Academy.

Just to remind folks, this is an additional $2.9 million of taxpayers’ money!  And what are the taxpayers of Ohio getting for this $2.9 million bonus?  Well, according to the Ohio School Report Cards entry for ECOT, it isn’t good!!!  One “D”, seven “F”s, and one area that received an NR (which I assume is no response).  This performance is worth a $2.9 million bonus of taxpayers’ money?

So how is this possible, I think this chart answers many of our questions:

lager_donations

While ECOT CEO (William Lager) has many business interests beyond ECOT (although the Plunderbund blog entry does describe several other publicly-funded Lager initiatives), you also have to ask yourself how much of this $1,343,242.46 is taxpayers’ money?

What’s the old saying, “you have to spend money to make money”?  And when it is the taxpayers’ money, whynot spent as much as you need to get the job done?

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