On Monday, Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost will release findings of an audit of more than 100 Ohio schools. The audit is investigating possible "scrubbing" of attendance data. The audit is a result of the LocklandMore >>
Ohio's state auditor says he's turned up four more school districts, including Cincinnati and Winton Woods, that removed poor-performing students from their rolls.More >>
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
The Tri-state's largest school district is speaking out against
allegations the district "scrubbed" school attendance records.
The Ohio Auditor of State David Yost announced Cincinnati Public
Schools was added to a list of districts it alleges removed poor-performing
students from their rolls; a practice known as scrubbing.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, the practice can
improve performance ratings and potentially impact federal funding.
In Cincinnati's case, the state found issue with the district not
reporting 98 students who transferred from one school to another within the
district and instead recorded the transfers as withdrawals. The state auditor
argues that school-to-school transfers should be reflected in the district-wide
One the other
hand the report states CPS maintains it is justified if the student fails to
immediately attend the new school on the day of the transfer.
CPS Superintendent Mary Ronan
told FOX19 Wednesday she is not anticipating any sanctions or licenses being
revoked and argues their own investigation did not find employees manipulated
"The perception is that we
did something horribly wrong," Ronan said. "This is a business rule
technicality that would not have changed the district's report card or we
believe six of the seven schools looked at."
Ronan argues taking
unaccounted for students off the rolls actually kept the district from
benefiting from extra attendance-based state funds.
"We're trying to take them
out saying ‘They're not with us, don't send us the money'." She said. "That's
what I'm afraid of if I'm keeping 1,000 students on a roll who we don't have
and I know we don't have."
Ronan says the district sees
12,000 withdrawals a year which is roughly a third of the district's student
She argued pursuing truancy
issues through the court, as suggested in the auditor's report, would not be
feasible due to the sheer number of students.
"When you have an urban
especially with a large population of children in poverty you do have a higher
mobility," explained Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Julie Sellers.
Sellers says students have
become more difficult to track down in part because the number of school social
workers has been cut in half in the last few years. She says attendance records
can have a direct influence on teacher evaluations.
"That impacts every teachers
evaluation right now so when you start looking at how attendance is taken, how
it is recorded, it has a definite impact on every teacher it the state,"
The state auditor's report
alleges the breaks in enrollment resulted in students' test scores getting
eliminated from the district's report card.
"We don't believe six of the
seven schools looked at would change," Ronan said. "There's a possibility of a
change for one school and we certainly think the auditor should do that if
that's the case."
The state auditor maintains
the district miscoded student transfers within the district as withdrawals. The
practice allegedly violates a Department of Education policy that Ronan says is
buried in a document hundreds of pages long.
"It is very bureaucratic and
very difficult to sort through," she said showing the binder.
Nonetheless, she says the
district plans to work with the Department of Education to get thing sorted
"We'll comply, I mean I'm
just going to be brutally frank, but we feel like [we need] clarification
because I don't know if they belong in the school they were in August or the
school they show up in months later," she said.
Ronan says they believe the
school in question is Hays/Porter Elementary and she says that school's report
card could reflect a drop from its former continuous improvement grade to
academic watch or emergency.
A spokesperson for the
Department of Education tells FOX19 they can legally withhold funds from the
district and says that option is still on the table pending their own
investigation. He says they have yet to determine if the district
benefited by receiving a higher rating on any school report cards due to the
manner they recorded transfers and withdrawals.
State-wide school report cards
will be released at the end of the month, but the schools in question will
receive grades with the understanding they are pending a full investigation by