Former ECOT charter school families scramble to find new schools for their kids

Published: Jan. 22, 2018 at 9:55 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2018 at 6:25 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Approximately 12,000 students across the state of Ohio attended ECOT, or the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. Now that ECOT officially closed on Friday, the clock is ticking for those families to find an alternative for their children.

Students can return to their brick and mortar neighborhood schools or find another online alternative.

Sixteen-year-old Ann Senz has attended ECOT for close to two years. She left the high school she attended in the Parma City School District because she says she was being bullied.

Now, she proudly wears an East Texas Baptist University t-shirt. Ann did so well in ECOT's program, she was set to graduate a year early and says she has already been excepted to ETBU for the fall.

But now, ECOT's closing puts those plans in jeopardy, and has Ann looking for a suitable alternative.

"I was really upset because ECOT helped me to be able to graduate this summer, and now I'm just scared that I won't be able to," added Ann Senz.

Ann's mom says - by law - they have just 10 days to show proof that Ann is enrolled in another school.

In other school systems, like the Cleveland school system, there are over 700 families that attend ECOT. Those families are being invited to the regularly scheduled high school choice fairs to find ECOT alternatives.

Rick McIntosh is the executive director of School Choice and Enrollment for the Cleveland Metropolitan Schools. He says since hearing about ECOT's possible closing, Cleveland schools have worked on streamlining the process of enrolling students.

"It's a trying time. It's tough when you change schools in the middle of the year. So, we want to make sure we are sensitive to the needs of those families and those children and get them into our schools, that they continue their education," said McIntosh.

Ann says she thinks she's found another online school program - but it's not clear if the new school will also allow her to graduate early and head to college in the fall.

"I'm hoping because I was really excited," added Ann Senz.

There are other online options available for students, but some parents are reporting that there are only so many spots available, and they are filling up fast.

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