A seven month investigation has found a total of nine Ohio school districts â??scrubbedâ?? their attendance numbers.
Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Marion and Campbell were already identified by Ohioâ??s state auditor as regions that removed poor-performing students from their attendance records. Now, four more have been identified as purposefully tampering their records, including Canton, Cincinnati, Winton Woods City Schools and Northridge Local Schools.
State Auditor Dave Yost said the reason behind the tampering may stem from the way the Ohio Department of Education tracks attendance. The department only counts students during one week in October instead of during the whole year.
"Kids might not show up in September, might vanish in November and might be gone for months, but as long as they are there in that week in October, ODE sends the full year worth of funding to that local school district," Yost said.
In addition to the major scrubbing offenders identified in the probe, another 70 school districts were found to have attendance reporting errors. But in those cases, officials said they didn't appear to be done on purpose.
The entire investigation involved more than 260 auditors at a cost of $443,000.