Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow v. Ohio State Board of Education

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

February 27, 2018

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Ohio State Board of Education, Defendant-Appellee.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 17CV-5315

          On brief: Zeiger, Tigges & Little LLP, Marion H. Little, Jr., John W. Zeiger and Christopher J Hogan, for appellant. Argued: Marion H. Little, Jr.

          On brief: Isaac Wiles Burkholder & Teetor, LLC, Mark R. Weaver, Mark Landes, Brian M. Zets and Michael L. Close, for appellee. Argued: Mark Landes.

          DECISION

          TYACK, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow ("ECOT"), appeals from the July 12, 2017 decision and entry of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas granting defendant-appellee, Ohio State Board of Education's ("BOE") motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissing as moot ECOT's motion for a preliminary injunction and motion for expedited discovery. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

          I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         {¶ 2} ECOT initiated this case on June 14, 2017 seeking to invalidate a decision made by BOE at its June 12, 2017 public meeting. ECOT alleged violations of Ohio's Open Meetings Act ("OMA"), codified at R.C. 121.22.

         {¶ 3} ECOT is the largest of Ohio's community based schools, and specifically is an internet or computer based community school as defined in R.C. 3314.02(A)(7). As a public school, ECOT receives funding from the state of Ohio based on the number of full-time equivalent ("FTE") students enrolled in the school. R.C. 3314.08(C); Elec. Classroom of Tomorrow v. Ohio Dept. of Edn., 10th Dist. No. 16AP-863, 2017-Ohio-5607, ¶ 3.

         {¶ 4} Previously, the Ohio Department of Education ("ODE") had determined that ECOT owed the state money for FTE funding overpayments for the 2015-2016 school year. A community school that disagrees with ODE's determination on funding has a right to an appeal to the BOE or its designee. R.C. 3314.08(K)(2)(a). ECOT disputed ODE's finding and appealed the determination to a BOE designee.

         {¶ 5} Under RC. 3314.08(K)(2)(b), "[t]he board or its designee shall conduct an informal hearing on the matter within thirty days of receipt of such an appeal and shall issue a decision within fifteen days of the conclusion of the hearing." After notice to the parties, a hearing officer conducted a 10-day hearing in which ECOT introduced more than 2, 000 exhibits. On May 10, 2017, the hearing officer issued a 100-plus page report recommending recovery of over $60 million owed to the state of Ohio by ECOT.

         {¶ 6} Under RC. 3314.08(K)(2)(c), "[i]f the board has enlisted a designee to conduct the hearing, the designee shall certify its decision to the board. The board may accept the decision of the designee or may reject the decision of the designee and issue its own decision on the matter." Under RC. 3314.08(K)(2)(d), any decision made by the BOE on the appeal is final. The hearing officer's recommendation was slated for a final determination by BOE at its June 12, 2017 public meeting. Notice of the meeting had been published on the BOE website on June 8, 2017. Included in the agenda for the meeting was consideration of a resolution regarding the hearing officer's recommendation.

          {¶ 7} ECOT submitted 140 pages of objections to the hearing officer's report and recommendation. ODE's chief legal counsel indicated, by means of a letter, that the BOE would consider ECOT's objections at its next regularly scheduled meeting in which it would take up the hearing officer's report. BOE conducted its June 12, 2017 meeting as scheduled. BOE went into executive session to discuss personnel cases and pending or immediate legal action. After emerging from executive session, the chief legal counsel for ODE gave a presentation about BOE's consideration of a resolution to accept the decision of the hearing officer ("ECOT resolution").

         {¶ 8} After further presentations on unrelated topics, the discussion returned to the ECOT resolution, and BOE spent nine minutes formally deliberating the ECOT resolution. The bulk of the discussion concerned whether the amount for recovery should be approximately $60 million or $64 million. BOE then voted to adopt the hearing officer's recommendation to recover $60, 350, 791 owed by ECOT. Public comment followed the vote.

         {¶ 9} Two days later, on June 14, 2017, ECOT filed this action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The first amended complaint alleged three violations of the OMA. On June 28, 2017, BOE filed an answer and a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Civ.R. 12(C) in which it argued that ECOT's claims under the OMA were barred for two reasons. First, BOE argued that the pleadings demonstrated that it did comply with the requirements of the OMA. Second, BOE argued that the hearing ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.