COLUMBUS: Two government watchdog groups are seeking information from the sponsor of Ohio’s then-largest online charter school about any public money the school spent to keep employees from speaking out.

Common Cause Ohio and Innovation Ohio said Monday that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow offered non-disclosure agreements to an unknown number of employees.

That included a former ECOT technology worker whose allegations of misconduct were recently reported by The Associated Press. The man refused to sign the agreement barring him from making comments “disparaging or negative toward” the now-shuttered e-school. It cost him his severance package.

Catherine Turcer, of Common Cause, says it was “clearly not appropriate” if ECOT spent taxpayer dollars through such agreements.

A message seeking comment was left with ECOT’s sponsor, Toledo-based Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West.