This was a fascinating story on NPR. There are on-line schools to be sure but apparently there is a (for-profit) company, K-12, Inc. that runs online charter schools in many states and wanted to get into North Carolina. A little reviewed clause in their charter law allowed a small district to be their authorizer for 4% of the take.
So you're a little district, low on funds, and you get offered "help" (or a kickback, take your pick) from an outside source with no strings attached (except maybe, stay out of their way). What would you do?
It's not a pretty picture.