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CPS, Winton Woods ratings same after scrubbing recalculation

Tuesday the Ohio Department of Education issued new report cards for the six school districts accused of scrubbing data, including Cincinnati and Winton Woods, whose ratings remained the same.

CPS spokeswoman Janet Walsh said, "Our data did not change much as a result of the recalculation. We were still rated Effective for the year (2010-2011), our Performance Index was adjusted from 87.3 to 87.1."  Winton Woods remains at Continuous Improvement for the 2010-2011 school year.

Three CPS school ratings changed. Walsh said, "One (was) down a category (Hays Porter) and two (Roselawn Condon and Gamble High School) up a category. We had anticipated that Hays Porter might drop because they had made the original rating by such a narrow margin that a couple of student records could change it."

Perhaps the most noticeable change was for a  school district in Montgomery County, Northridge Local. With revised data it dropped two levels from Excellent to Continuous Improvement.

The audit began after irregular attendance and enrollment practices surfaced in the Lockland, Toledo and Columbus School Districts. In February 2013 Auditor Dave Yost said the districts fudged data to look better on state reports, as WVXU reported.

In a letter to Yost last year, CPS said it had 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." At a news conference, CPS said it would not lose millions of dollars after violating what it called a "business rule."

CPS reasoning for the old way

In May 2013, Director of Research, Evaluation and Test Administration Elizabeth Holtzapple said the old way reflected reality, where a student actually was. She said the district has received minimal guidance from the state. "We're still hoping that there will be changes but actually more importantly, clarification, in terms of what to do in particular situations."

State changes are going to be made

CPS Superintendent Mary Ronan says next school year (2014-2015) the state is changing the rules so that what the district did in 2010-2011, will be legal.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.