By EMMALEE C. TORISK
The Ohio Department of Education referred seven school districts, including Campbell, to its Office of Professional Conduct on Monday after confirming those districts had improperly reported attendance data or used questionable practices during the 2010-2011 academic year.
During its investigations into eight school districts identified by Auditor of State Dave Yost as having “evidence of scrubbing,” the ODE found that six districts “failed to demonstrate that they made a good-faith effort to properly report attendance data as required by law,” according to an ODE press release. These districts must submit corrective-action plans to address those concerns.
This inaccurate reporting of data, then, may have positively affected state report cards for that year, which necessitates the need to recalculate and reissue them to affected districts.
Of the 39 student records from the Campbell City School District that were reviewed by the state, 37 of those students were improperly withdrawn, according to the release.
An internal investigation by the Campbell City School District, which was conducted shortly after the October 2012 findings, didn’t reveal any “bad intent” in the improper reporting of data.
But Matthew Bowen, who took over as superintendent in August, said the school district has “implemented a new structure for enrolling and withdrawing students” anyway. Multiple signatures are now required when a student is withdrawn from school, for example.
“We have a system of checks and balances to ensure accuracy in our reporting,” Bowen said. “It is our intention to work cooperatively with the Office of Professional Conduct to ensure proper accountability and protocol is followed throughout the district by all staff now and in the future.”
Referral to the Office of Professional Conduct will involve determining “if any licensed professional participated in conduct unbecoming the teaching profession by contributing to submission of inaccurate data,” according to the release. Consequences could include “professional conduct sanctions up to and including suspension or revocation of licensure.”
Other districts with improperly reported Education Management Information System, or EMIS, data are the Cincinnati Public School District, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the Northridge Local School District, the Toledo Public School District, and the Winton Woods City School District.
The Marion City School District was found to have accurately reported its EMIS data, but because of concerns over questionable practices, it will also be referred to the Office of Professional Conduct.