Superintendent: District Did Not Manipulate Data To ‘Cheat’


Columbus City Schools chief said on Tuesday that without a report from the State Auditor’s Office, there was no indication that school attendance information was manipulated in an attempt to cheat.

School officials said in June that staff members found inconsistencies in its data related to students who were listed as truant. Superintendent Gene Harris said that the irregularities were found in attendance reporting.

10TV News learned on Tuesday that there is an incentive program in place for teachers and principals who made progress in certain areas like attendance.

The district’s attendance rate was 90.3 percent when Harris took office in 2001. The district now boasts a 94.5 percent attendance rate.

Those numbers could be challenged after the state auditor investigates allegations about retroactive changes made to the district’s attendance records.

Harris said that none of the allegations could be linked to the district’s gain-sharing program, an incentive that gave bonuses to staff for improving student performance.

“These were personal bonuses but here is what I know about our staff, they spend so much of their own money on our students, this was just an opportunity for them to have a few dollars to continue that,” Harris said.

Harris said that she never encouraged staff to manipulate data and said that that the state auditor would shed light on what might have gone wrong.

“We want to right the ship,” Harris said. “We want to make sure this community feels like they can believe in the Columbus City Schools and the work that we are doing.”

According to Harris, the community should feel confident in the Columbus City School District’s staff.

“I believe that the community can feel confident in us if they look at what we have done in the past,” Harris said.

Harris said that both the Toledo and Lockland school district have faced attendance reporting questions.

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Previous Story:
June 15, 2012:
Columbus Schools Putting Microscope To Attendance Reporting; Inconsistencies Found