Columbus Schools Releases Documents That Led To Attendance Reporting Investigation

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Columbus City School District officials released documents detailing the timeline of events that led to the investigation into attendance reporting fraud.

According to a district statement, an anonymous letter was sent to school and city officials in October 2004 and alleged inaccuracies in the attendance data being submitted to the Ohio Department of Education.

The district said that district Superintendent Gene Harris sought an independent outside review by the Ohio Department of Education of the district's attendance data practices and procedures in response to the anonymous letter.

                           Read the letter here.

In December 2004, Harris made a formal written request to the ODE asking it to assign a staff member to review the district's reporting procedures to comply with state rules.

On Jan. 5, 2005, according to CCS officials, an ODE official said that he would undertake the request for the review.

According to district officials, reports that Harris canceled the audit were incorrect. Officials said that Harris would not have had authority to cancel an internal audit such as the one being conducted by the Ohio Department of Education.

A statement released by the district on Thursday stated that the results of the audit were sent to Harris and Andrew Ginther of Columbus City Council on June 15, 2005 and stated that the district complied with state standards for attendance reporting.

CCS spokesman Jeff Warner said that the district's investigation into the events was ongoing with an ultimate goal of determining what happened and to take "appropriate actions including steps that will insure that the district complies with all applicable laws."

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