Ohio’s largest online charter school spent at least $2.27 million of state education tax dollars last school year on advertising to attract students, or about $155 for each student who enrolled that year.
And that’s only part of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow’s advertising budget, because other advertising — including those featuring Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, as an ECOT spokesman — are paid for by the school’s for-profit management company, and its records are not public.
“We’re always concerned with the amount of money or expenditures spent in classroom instruction,” said Rick Teeters, superintendent of ECOT. “We try to keep the marketing expenditure around or under 2 percent of the total budget.”
ECOT’s 2013-14 revenue was $112.7 million, 90 percent funded by the state.
ECOT’s spending on advertising during the 2013-14 school year included:
• $1.79 million on ads, including radio and television time.
• $119,722 on Facebook ads.
• $135,418 on Google ads.
• $35,938 on mailing lists.
By comparison, Columbus City Schools, the state’s largest district, spent just over $108,000 on ads during 2013-14, about half of which was to remind parents to enroll their children before the start of the school year and announce new programs.
(REad more at the Dispatch)