While researching EMIS data to prepare for a routine audit by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) for the 2012-2013 school year, officials in Winton Woods City Schools discovered some irregularities in the district's data and voluntarily reported them to ODE.
This was after ODE had completed their original audit of the district and found it was in compliance with EMIS regulations, but prior to the statewide attendance data probe launched by Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost.
When the Auditor's Office later called on districts to self-report any attendance issues, Winton Woods City Schools again disclosed all known findings. In addition, the Board of Education informed the public of the reports to ODE and the Auditor at its November and December Board meetings. As well, Tim Cleary, president of the Winton Woods Board of Education, met in Columbus with Yost to provide two years of student data for review.
Upon further examination, the Auditor's Office uncovered 14 additional errors in Winton Woods City Schools' EMIS data. Most of the errors appear to be related to confusion about the proper coding of students who were expelled from their respective buildings due to discipline violations and placed in alternative school settings. Other errors were related to date changes to student records which resulted from poor record keeping and a lack of well-defined procedures and reporting systems for chronically absent students. Representatives from Winton Woods City Schools do not believe any of the errors resulted in an inaccurate state report card rating; however, they are waiting for a more formal ruling from ODE on this issue.
Administrative changes have taken place within the district to assure this cannot happen again. Interim Superintendent Jim Smith, who took office after the start of the original investigation, continues to work with district administrators and the Auditor's Office to identify whether systemic problems exist.
Additionally, the Winton Woods Board of Education hired EMIS Supervisor Vernita Kilgore in December to oversee EMIS reporting for the district. Kilgore has a wide array of experience in EMIS reporting from other school districts and is a former auditor for the state.
The school says it has made administrative changes within the district to avoid errors in the future.
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