Space calls out ECOT donation recipients

Candidate says funds should go to public schools

COLUMBUS -- A Democratic candidate for Ohio state auditor, who has made the problems surrounding the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow a centerpiece of his campaign, weighed in on Friday to news of the school's closure.

Former U.S. Rep. Zack Space said the controversy surrounding ECOT is "the precise reason so many Ohioans have lost faith in their government and feel isolated from their democracy."

"Self-interest politicians, focused exclusively on their campaign war chests, happily looked the other way for 17 years while this for-profit school enriched its founder, produced dismal graduation rates of under 40 percent, and made off with over $1 billion of taxpayer money since 2001," Space said in a news release on Friday.

"But the real victims of the ECOT scam have always been the school's students, tens of thousands of whom must now find a new school in the middle of the year. No child or their family deserves to be left in the cold like this. The politicians in the General Assembly who created this mess must now clean it up, and those who took campaign contributions from ECOT leaders should immediately return the money to public schools, where it belongs."

Space spoke about the ECOT controversy when he addressed Lawrence County's dinner in October and raised the issue when he visited Ironton again in late November.

He had said that, if elected Auditor, he would seek to declare ECOT's books inauditable.

"We no longer have the ability to see what is done with the money," Space told The Tribune in an interview during the visit. "As Auditor, I will do everything I can, using the powers of the office to shine a light on the role campaign contributions and money are playing on policy," he said.

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