COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio's state auditor says he's turned up four more school districts that removed poor-performing students from their rolls, including two in the Tri-State.
Auditor David Yost also identified more than 70 schools or districts with attendance reporting errors, though these didn't appear to be purposeful.
The four districts that Yost announced Monday bring to nine the number of total districts Yost has identified in his investigation of the data withdrawal practice known as "scrubbing."
The districts Yost identified Monday are Canton, Cincinnati, Winton Woods city schools, and Northridge Local schools.
Yost says the state should peg school funding on year-long attendance figures to encourage attendance through the entire year.
Yost previously said Campbell, Cleveland, Columbus, Marion and Toledo city schools improperly removed students.
To read the full audit, go to http://goo.gl/AmQX2 .
Cincinnati Public Schools superintendent Mary Ronan said that the district is not aware of any intentional data manipulation and respectfully disagrees with some of the report's findings.
CPS issued a complete statement in response to Yost's report, which can be read below:
On behalf of Cincinnati City School District ("CPS"), I write in response to the preliminary findings of the Auditor of State's Attendance Data and Accountability Audit. The Auditor provided these preliminary findings to CPS for the first time on Thursday, January 24, 2013.
As you know, CPS has cooperated fully with the Auditor's investigation. Over the past five months, CPS provided the Auditor's staff with direct access to review student files at CPS schools. The Auditor's staff also had the opportunity to speak directly to District personnel including testing coordinators, principals, and other staff, outside the presence of any attorney or other CPS representative. CPS has made every effort to provide files and records within the tight timelines necessitated by this audit.
Seven of CPS's 57 schools were selected for testing during the audit. We understand that the seven schools were chosen because of the high rate of mobility of students enrolled and withdrawn from those schools, and not because of any suspected impropriety in reporting attendance data. CPS consistently has one of the highest rates of student mobility in Ohio. As you know, during the 2010-11 school year, CPS processed 11,715 student withdrawals from its schools.
CPS is committed to providing the Ohio Department of Education ("ODE") and the public with accurate enrollment data for our schools.
Based on the Auditor's preliminary findings, the majority of "errors" that the Auditor observed at CPS relate to "building to building transfers." We understand that the Auditor's staff found an "error" in each case where CPS reported a break in enrollment for a student who withdrew from a CPS school and later enrolled in another CPS school. We respectfully disagree that reporting a break of enrollment or a building to building transfer necessarily constitutes an error in reporting.
Given the high mobility rate at CPS, students oftentimes stop attending school without giving school officials any information about when or where the student intends to re-enroll. When a student has not attended school for approximately two weeks, a school social worker attempts to locate the student and his/her family. If the family is located and the student does not return to school, the social worker submits a court referral for truancy proceedings and the school withdraws the student using MIS Code 71 ("Withdrew Due to Truancy / Nonattendance"). If the school social worker reports that the family has moved and/or cannot be located, the school uses EMIS Code 74 ("Whereabouts Unknown").
Students who have been withdrawn occasionally re-enroll in another CPS school, sometimes weeks or months after the student has stopped attending school. According to the Auditor, we understand that ODE would prefer that CPS cancel the student's withdrawal, and report that the student was "continuously enrolled." Without reporting a withdrawal, however, there is no way for CPS to reflect the period of time during which the student was not attending school. If no withdrawal is reported, either the student's original school must report that the student was continuously enrolled until the date of re-enrollment, or the student's new school must backdate its enrollment of the student from the time the student stopped attending the original school. Reporting the student as "continuously enrolled" does not reflect that the student was not attending school, and could also have the effect of CPS receiving public funding for a student that CPS knew was not attending school.
EMIS does not use a "continuous enrollment" rule for students who withdraw from one school district and re-enroll in a school district. For example, if a CPS student withdraws and later re-enrolls at a