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Ohio Department of Education Finds Lockland School District Filed False Attendance Data

Release date: 7/25/2012

“This was not done to help students but to help adults, and that’s a case of misplaced priorities. Integrity and accuracy in Ohio’s education accountability system is essential if schools are to fully serve students and earn the trust of parents, the public and taxpayers,” said State Superintendent Stan Heffner. “Dishonest actions like these may inflate results but are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The ODE investigation concluded that 36 students were improperly reported to the state as having left the Lockland School District for another school district, when, in fact the students never left Lockland. The students were added back to the district’s official roster after a short period of time, but the break in enrollment led to their test scores not being counted as part of the district’s overall performance.

ODE has added those students into Lockland’s 2011 report card calculations, which resulted in:

  • The district rating dropping from “Effective” to “Continuous Improvement” and the district no longer being rated as meeting the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standard. Lockland is now labeled as an “At-Risk” district.
  • The rating for Lockland Elementary School dropping from “Continuous Improvement” to “Academic Watch.” The school is no longer rated as meeting the federal AYP standards and is now labeled as an “At-Risk” school.
  • The creation of a report card for the Arlington Heights Academy, which previously did not have enough reported students to generate a rating. The school is now rated “Continuous Improvement.”
  • A reduction in the Performance Index scores and number of state indicators met for Lockland High School and Lockland Middle School. Their school report card ratings are unchanged.

Lockland’s report cards were marked as “Under Review” on the ODE website last year pending the outcome of the investigation.

ODE’s investigation included a detailed analysis of data reported by Lockland through the Education Management Information System (EMIS), a statewide computer network that schools use to report official information to the state. ODE found that while Lockland reported to the state that the students had moved to other districts, no other Ohio school system subsequently reported receiving the students. Lockland’s attorney later conceded that the district could produce no records to back up its claim that the students had moved.

ODE’s Chief Legal Counsel has referred the matter to the Department’s Office of Professional Conduct to determine whether an investigation is warranted into whether any Lockland licensed educators engaged in conduct unbecoming to their position. Such an investigation could lead to professional conduct sanctions against Lockland School District staff, up to and including permanent revocation of an educator’s license and/or other personnel action as determined by the Lockland Board of Education.