Ohio Auditor Grilled On Questions About Attendance Investigation
The state school board grilled Ohio Auditor Dave Yost on Monday with questions about the attendance-tampering investigation.
Yost was at the meeting to update members on the ongoing audit and to recommend the General Assembly change current law to allow the Ohio Department of Education access to student's personal information.
But the board focused its questions on the recently released student attendance report.
Yost began talking about the law change. Current state law forbids the ODE from knowing the names and identifying information of individual students. Yost said it is costly and could add to the attendance mishaps.
“With adequate privacy protections in place, the state could save $432,000 a year,” said Yost.
The board voiced support of the idea but quickly turned their focus to the ongoing attendance investigation.
Their questions were specific and, at one point, the exchange turned a bit testy.
“Madam president, I'm not going to stand here and be insulted,” Yost said at one point.
A board member from central Ohio asked about Columbus City Schools’ claim it did not know truancy involved a process which includes legal action.
“My take away from the interim report is that it confirms that districts across the state, not just Columbus, believe that it was permissible under the state guidelines to withdraw students for non attendance, even though no truancy charges were prosecuted,” Columbus Superintendent Dr. Gene Harris had said last week.
"The fact of the matter is, this is very clear. The fact of the matter is also that the majority of school districts in Ohio don't have any problem understanding what the law says or complying with it,” said Yost.
In reference to Yost's recommendation to allow ODE access to student information, the state auditor said every state except Ohio and New Hampshire allows its state's department of education access to that information.
In regards to the attendance investigation, the next report will be released in two weeks.
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