The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (eCOT), an online charter school serving Ohio students, experienced another setback in May when three board members resigned. The members said they disagreed with the school’s management and spent too much time trying to solve the school’s problems.
Board members Douglas Lumpkin and Harry Beale resigned May 9. Clyde Card submitted a letter of resignation but did not leave his post until the following week, when the board appointed replacements, said Donald Wihl, the board’s chairman.
The school is based in Columbus and sponsored by the Lucas County Educational Service Center near Toledo. It has enrolled more than 2,000 students in its first year, quickly becoming the state’s largest charter school and one of the biggest of the dozens of new online schools around the country.
Wihl said the members resigned because the board meetings took too much of their time. Beale, an industrialist in Columbus, said in his letter of resignation that his businesses have suffered because of the time he’s spent trying to correct problems with eCOT.
The school has drawn criticism from some public school superintendents, who accused eCOT of exaggerating enrollment, causing their districts to lose funding to the charter school before the numbers were verified. Meanwhile, some parents complained about long delays receiving computers.
Beale said he still believes that the idea of an internet-based school is “a fantastic idea.” But, he said, “I think I have philosophical differences with the management company.”
Card also said he had differences with management company Altair Learning Management LLC. “I just didn’t really agree with the way the organization was going,” Card said, declining to elaborate.
The new board members, named May 16, are N. Eugene Brundige, a former deputy director of human resources for the city of Columbus; Carolyn L. Nellon of Columbus, human resources manager for the Ohio Department of Aging and a former personnel director for Columbus Public Schools; and Cynthia Baird of Trenton, a nurse who has three children enrolled with eCOT.