State Auditor David Yost says data scrubbing in the Columbus City Schools painted a false picture of district accomplishments, and may have cheated some students out of the chance for charter school vouchers or federally subsidized tutoring.
Speaking Monday at a conference of fraud investigators, Yost said he does not think Columbus is the only district where action will be taken.
Yost has released a report showing what he calls questionable practices regarding student attendance data in districts in Cleveland, Toledo, Campbell (pronounced "camel") and Marion County. Yost praised Columbus Schools internal auditor Carolyn Smith yesterday for her diligence in investigating the issue. Smith released a report last December on attendance scrubbing in the district and has said publicly she felt pressure from Superintendent Gene Harris and School Board president Carol Perkins. A bill that passed the Ohio House last week would create what is called an independent auditor's position in the district. Meanwhile an investigation is underway into how and if more than 5.5 million dollars of federal funds for tutoring programs in the district was spent. State officials say there's no paper trail to account for where some of the funds were spent. State officials shut down the tutoring program earlier this year amid allegations of fraud.