With the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow losing its charter Friday, Brookfield school officials are reaching out to try to reclaim the 13 township residents who studied with the on-line school.
Superintendent Jo Taylor said Friday she had talked to families who planned to bring two students back under the Brookfield schools umbrella, either by attending the brick-and-mortar school or studying online through the district’s online academy, which is operated by Mahoning County Educational Services Center.
Letters were sent Friday to the parents and guardians of the other 11 students, she said.
“It looks like (ECOT’s closing is) official,” Taylor said of why letters went out Friday. “I’ll believe it on Monday when nothing miraculous has happened over the weekend.”
Other options for students, according to the Ohio Department of Education, include enrolling in a neighboring district that offers open enrollment, a private school or another charter school, or homeschooling.
Students attended ECOT because of behavioral or peer issues or for health reasons, Taylor said.
In most cases, Brookfield school officials would recommend that former ECOT students continue studying on-line, she said.
“If you’re successful, then you should continue with that,” she said.
However, bringing students under the wing of the district’s on-line academy benefits the district financially and, Taylor hopes, could be good for students as well.
School funding follows the student. When a Brookfield student enrolls in an on-line school other than Brookfield’s, the state subsidy and local tax money allotted to that student goes to that on-line school. The district loses about $6,000 a student, Taylor said.
“It’s hurtful when they go,” she said.
Enrolling in Brookfield – either the physical school or on-line – has perks for the student, she said, including the ability for students to participate in sports, extracurricular activities and clubs.
“They weren’t able to do that with ECOT,” Taylor said.
Brookfield also has a secret weapon in Chris Fahndrich, the district’s liaison with the academy, which has been called FUEL-ED, a reference to its curriculum provider. Fahndrich works with and advises students and helps families get in touch with teachers, Taylor said. He also is available to parents for help with motivating and changing the behavior of students, she said.
“He’s a great intermediary,” she said. “He’s a great people person.”
The Department of Education said Friday it can help students affected by the ECOT closing. Call 877-644-6338 or send an email to FindASchool@education.ohio.gov