Ohio's state auditor says he's turned up four more school districts that removed poor-performing students from their rolls. The practice appears to be an attempt to increase school district performance grades.
"The good news is that most of the school districts in Ohio are playing by the rules, they're clean, they're doing it right," said Auditor Dave Yost.
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. He previously said Campbell, Cleveland, Columbus, Marion and Toledo City Schools improperly removed students.
"It seems to me that there are facts in several school districts that would support disciplinary action should the school board choose to take it," he said.
Yost says an investigation into Columbus City Schools is separate from the rest of the districts because of an on-going criminal investigation. He says there have been many more issues in the state's largest school district than the others around the state.
"We have also found evidence that indicates an intent to deceive both ODE and the parents of this district," Yost said.
The report also makes suggestions for changes that could make the system more accountable. For example, state law bars the Ohio Department of Education from knowing the names of students. A third-party takes student names and assigns an ID number that the state uses for tracking. Yost thinks the law needs to be repealed.
Yost also took issue with the state's system of determining funding for each student. Currently, schools are funded based on attendance numbers from one week in October.
"A kid might not show up in September, might vanish in November and be gone for months, but as long as they're there that week in October ODE sends the full year's worth of funding."
Yost says the state should peg school funding on year-long attendance figures to encourage attendance through the entire year.