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Campbell schools target of conduct investigation

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Campbell and six other Ohio school districts found to be improperly reporting attendance data, or using questionable practices have been referred to the Ohio Department of Education's Professional Conduct office.

A statement from the DOE says the probe will determine if any licensed professional participated in conduct unbecoming the teaching profession by contributing to submission of inaccurate data.

The department of education completed investigations into eight school districts identified by the Auditor of State as having evidence of scrubbing in its 2010-2011 attendance data. 

The investigation determined that seven of those districts did improperly report its Education Management Information System (EMIS) data during the 2010-2011 school year.

The state investigated the records of 39 students in the Campbell Schools, and found that 37 of those students improperly withdrew from the district.

"Misreporting of attendance data or 'scrubbing' jeopardizes the entire accountability system in Ohio and will not be tolerated," Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Richard A. Ross said. "These actions will be investigated and may result in professional conduct sanctions up to and including suspension or revocation of licensure."

After reviewing more than 8,500 student records, the department of education's investigation led to significant concerns regarding the inaccurate reporting of data.

"We are committed to collecting accurate data and will require districts to submit corrective action plans to address these concerns," said Dr. Ross. "We also determined that approximately 50 percent of the records reviewed indicated the improper withdrawal of students from schools and should be included in the district and school report card calculations."

Six of the districts listed above failed to demonstrate that they made a good faith effort to properly report attendance data as required by law.

Furthermore, the misreporting of attendance data may have wrongfully benefited the 2010-2011 district and school building report cards. Misrepresenting student enrollment status, and thus, reporting inaccurate data to the EMIS, is a violation of Ohio law.

In addition to reissuing 2010-2011 report cards, the department will investigate districts' 2011-2012 school year EMIS data to determine whether improper reporting of student withdrawals occurred.

Because of the ongoing data accuracy investigations and potential professional conduct investigations, each district is now under a legal duty to preserve all evidence, whether printed or electronic, that is or might become relevant to this matter, including information regarding student withdrawals, data changes made to student records, who made any data changes, and district policies and practices for data changes and withdrawals.

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