ECOT teacher says fallout extends beyond the classroom


Born with Muscular Dystrophy, Robb Flannery says teaching at ECOT was a dream come true.

"Just like ECOT came to the rescue of a lot of students it kind of did for me. ECOT was an opportunity of a lifetime," he said.

Flannery taught eighth-grade social studies, but while he was shaping minds of the future, the electronic classroom of the future was struggling to stay open.

New laws required ECOT to document how the school counts class participation.

When it couldn't, it lost millions in state funding. ECOT is disputing the findings.

Flannery, like other teachers, lost more than a job.

"We lost our insurance we lost everything," he said.

The 34-year-old relies on this expensive spinal injection medicine which he calls lifesaving.

"My next dose is up soon and I don't have insurance for that it's a scary time," he said.

When ECOT was shut down by its sponsors, it left teachers with 119 service credit hours. Why is that important? Because teachers need 120 credit hours to qualify for a complete year of teaching.

That means unless they find another job before the end this year, this year's teaching year won't count towards retirement.

According to the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio: A full-time teacher or administrator is granted a full year of service credit for 120 days of full-time service worked.

If the teacher or administrator leaves prior to 120 days worked, service credit is calculated as part-time service and he or she generally would not qualify for a full year of service credit.

"That means I lose a year of retirement I'll have to teach an extra year," he said.

In the meantime, he's torn by the way the sponsor decided to pull the plug on ECOT.

"I believe there were mistakes made; I believe there were mistakes made on both sides, but the only people paying for it are my students my teachers," he said.