Threat of e-school closure adds to adversity for students


By Kantele Franko - Associated Press



FILE – In this May 9, 2017, file photo, Bill Lager, center, co-founder of Ohio's largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, speaks to hundreds of supporters during a rally outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The virtual school could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close in early 2018, although ECOT has said it's working to remain open. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, is the school's deadline to send a proposed remedy to the sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth, File)


FILE – In this May 9, 2017, file photo, hundreds of supporters of Ohio's largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, participate in a rally outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The virtual school could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close in early 2018, although ECOT has said it's working to remain open. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, is the school's deadline to send a proposed remedy to the sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth, File)


FILE – In this May 9, 2017, file photo, a demonstrator in a bear costume holds a sign expressing skepticism of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Ohio's largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, as hundreds of the charter school's supporters participate in a rally outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The virtual school could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close in early 2018, although ECOT has said it's working to remain open. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, is the school's deadline to send a proposed remedy to the sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth, File)


COLUMBUS (AP) — Many of the roughly 12,000 Ohio students in the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow went to the huge online charter school because of adversity such as illnesses, disabilities or bullying that made the traditional school environment challenging.

Students, parents and teachers say they’re in another tough spot now with the looming possibility that one of the nation’s largest e-schools could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close after this week.

They’re considering backup plans halfway through the school year.

Public school districts would have to accept any returning local ECOT students, but some families say they intentionally left those schools for various reasons and won’t go back. Some parents are looking into Ohio’s other virtual schools or considering homeschooling.

FILE – In this May 9, 2017, file photo, Bill Lager, center, co-founder of Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, speaks to hundreds of supporters during a rally outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The virtual school could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close in early 2018, although ECOT has said it’s working to remain open. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, is the school’s deadline to send a proposed remedy to the sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth, File)
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/01/web1_119655414-159f2436cdaa4d0c9a736b237fe838cf.jpgFILE – In this May 9, 2017, file photo, Bill Lager, center, co-founder of Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, speaks to hundreds of supporters during a rally outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The virtual school could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close in early 2018, although ECOT has said it’s working to remain open. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, is the school’s deadline to send a proposed remedy to the sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth, File)

FILE – In this May 9, 2017, file photo, hundreds of supporters of Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, participate in a rally outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The virtual school could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close in early 2018, although ECOT has said it’s working to remain open. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, is the school’s deadline to send a proposed remedy to the sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth, File)
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/01/web1_119655414-1c698952ee3844c08ae2b3fa6a45fd6f.jpgFILE – In this May 9, 2017, file photo, hundreds of supporters of Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, participate in a rally outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The virtual school could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close in early 2018, although ECOT has said it’s working to remain open. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, is the school’s deadline to send a proposed remedy to the sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth, File)

FILE – In this May 9, 2017, file photo, a demonstrator in a bear costume holds a sign expressing skepticism of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, as hundreds of the charter school’s supporters participate in a rally outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The virtual school could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close in early 2018, although ECOT has said it’s working to remain open. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, is the school’s deadline to send a proposed remedy to the sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth, File)
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/01/web1_119655414-bf9a0548a7e149199d39107cc6b2c21b.jpgFILE – In this May 9, 2017, file photo, a demonstrator in a bear costume holds a sign expressing skepticism of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT, as hundreds of the charter school’s supporters participate in a rally outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The virtual school could lose its required sponsor and abruptly close in early 2018, although ECOT has said it’s working to remain open. Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, is the school’s deadline to send a proposed remedy to the sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth, File)

By Kantele Franko

Associated Press

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