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Parents scrambling after online educator ECOT shut down

Parents scrambling after online educator ECOT shut down. (WRGT/WKEF)

SPRINGBORO, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) -- Families of roughly 12,000 students are scrambling to find a new education option now that one of the nation's largest online charter schools is closing abruptly halfway through the academic year.

Governor John Kasich said his office has told the Department of Education that they need to be prepared to absorb all these students.

“We've told them that on a regular basis, without getting in the middle of negotiations, and we don't believe it’s our job to do that. It’s not appropriate, so we'll see what happens, and I just certainly hope the Department of Education has a plan,” Kasich said.

The publicly funded school is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT). They are in a legal fight with the State. They are requiring the school to repay the state $80 million after an audit showed inflated school enrollment numbers. The sudden closing is causing parents to panic.

“If you’re a parent that has waited until you get this news than you are even further behind the ball,” Tina Schrof said. Her son was enrolled in ECOT.

Kameron Schrof switched to the online school because of bullying issues.

“I would have a lot of anxiety and depression,” Schrof said, “Ever since I've gotten A's and B's. In public schools, it was D's and F's.”

Tina works at Springboro High School so, ironically, while she is at school, he is at home studying. That is until this afternoon, when they got a letter from ECOT stating the school was being shut down on the last day of the semester.

“When you're at this unique situation, and you're at the mercy of ECOT, what are you going to do?” Tina Schrof said, “If you don't send your child to school you could end up in truancy court.”

She called two other online schools, but they required transcripts. One needed it by the 30th, and the other the 31st.

“We were told after 45 minutes of talking to them, “Oh you can't get that? Then I'm sorry you're out of luck,” Schrof said.

With the semester over, and grades being calculated, she fears it could take until the 26th to have transcripts complete. She worries that it won’t be enough time to get them to new schools.

She turned to another online educator, The Great Ohio Virtual School (GOVS), and they are making exceptions.

“All in all it’s a happy ending, but leading up to this it's been the most frustrating thing,” Tina Schrof said

ECOT told the Schrof's that all transcripts will be sent to the student's local school district.

FOX45 is being told there is a sliver of hope that ECOT will open next year, but it is done for this year, including next semester.

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