An audit by the Columbus Schools says district officials changed records to make it appear students who were actually in school had withdrawn.
The audit also says officials improperly changed grades and attendance records that were years old and temporarily demoted students to lower grades. The audit found district officials operated under their own interpretation of rules and their efforts hurt the accuracy of state report cards. Superintendent Gene Harris acknowledge systemic deficiencies and record-keeping problems but added without explanation that she disagreed with the audit's findings. Federal authorities are now involved in a state probe of whether attendance and enrollment data of poor-performing students was manipulated to boost district performance rankings and income.