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Report finds school districts scrubbed data

Jo Ingles
Ohio Public Radio

A new audit released by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost has identified more cases of school districts that are believed to have scrubbed data on state reports.

Four new school districts are identified in this audit: Canton City Schools, Cincinnati Public Schools, Northridge Local Schools, and Winton Woods City Schools.  Those districts, along with five previously named: Campbell, Cleveland, Marion, Toledo and Columbus, are thought to have fudged data to look better on state reports. 

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost says the investigation into Columbus is still ongoing and could result in criminal referrals for not only scrubbing attendance data but also changing grades and deliberately deceiving the state. 

In a letter to Auditor Dave Yost, Cincinnati Public says it has examined the matter internally and found no evidence any of its employees intentionally manipulated attendance data in a manner in which they knew to be improper. It says the majority of errors relate to "building to building transfers."

In a posting on its website, Winton Woods acknowledges there were irregularities. The district says it reported them to the state and made administrative changes to make sure they don't happen again. Winton Woods says many of the errors were due to improper coding of students who were expelled.

Yost says he wants to increase training for schools that report data and upgrade automation and security for assessment testing.  He also wants lawmakers to pass laws that he says would make it easier for the state department of education to catch potential problems and would insure the count of students coming from districts is more accurate.