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Marion City, Elgin and Newark Schools Among Those Under State Investigation

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 1:11 PM

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The approximately 100 schools under state scrutiny for altering student attendance data include schools in three central Ohio school districts, reports. Marion City, Elgin and Newark are all part of the state auditor's investigation.

Ohio Department of Education staff helped investigators in the state auditor’s office identify schools with high numbers of student withdrawals, acting state Superintendent Michael Sawyers said last month.

Sawyers said last month that up to 100 Ohio schools — less than 3 percent of all charter and traditional public schools in the state — may have improperly changed student attendance data to make the school’s state report card look better.

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In Marion, the investigation focuses on 208 student-records, reports. The district's superintendent also told the outlet that the district reported to the state auditor's office that 47 low-performing students “were moved” to an online charter school sponsored by the school district and "wanted to be certain [those changes] were done correctly." It is unclear whether those 47 students' records are among the 208 that were audited. Marion enrolled about 4,500 students overall last year.

The superintendents of the Newark and Elgin school districts told they thought it unlikely staff in their districts had done anything wrong:

"Our people do a really good job," [Elgin Superintendent Bruce Gast] said. "We have no reason to suspect any problems. We are still doing everything we've done before."

Three districts have already said they altered student data: Columbus, Toledo and the Lockland district near Cincinnati.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the number of student-records to be audited in the Marion City school district. The correct number is 208. The story has been updated to reflect the correction.


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