TIFFIN, OH — The Seneca County Democratic Party released a new ad on Thursday criticizing State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin)’s contributions of over $12,000 from the founder of the scandal-ridden Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT).
The 18-second video clip says that “even the Ohio Republican Party” is “running from” the ECOT scandal, while Reineke received $12,155.52 from Bill Lager, the founder of the scandal-ridden ECOT online charter school, in October 2014. The ad criticizes Reineke for having no public plans to return the donations.
Reineke’s Democratic challenger, Rachel Crooks, criticized him for taking ECOT-linked contributions last week.
“For-profit charter schools like ECOT have been allowed to operate with no accountability for far too long, and they doled out millions in campaign checks — including $12,155.52 to Bill Reineke,” Crooks said in a press release.
As an online charter school, ECOT received taxpayer money based on the amount of time students spent learning. The charter school submitted that data to the state, which then doled out the appropriate amount of money.
But an audit of the 2015-2016 school year found ECOT was getting money for 9,000 students without proof that those students existed or were learning anything. The state wanted its $60.4 million in taxpayer money back.
Another audit of the 2016-2017 school year found ECOT over-estimated students again, taking about $19 million in taxpayer money without proper documentation.
This month, Ohio Auditor Dave Yost released a damning report alleging ECOT leaders broke the law by intentionally inflating the amount of time students spent learning.
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