Investigation shows Lockland schools filed false attendance data

Lockland schools cheated
Source: Google maps
Source: Google maps

LOCKLAND, OH (FOX19) - An investigation by the Ohio Department of Education has determined that the Lockland School District filed false attendance data during the 2010-11 school year, leading to artificially higher state testing results.

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.

"On July 25, 2012, the Lockland School District received material from the Ohio Department of Education regarding its investigation into EMIS data for the 2010-2011 school year. However, the Board of Education has not yet had an opportunity to thoroughly review and analyze ODE's findings. As such, the District has no further comment at this time," said Board of Education President Terry Gibson in a statement.

In response to the investigation, ODE has revised downward the district's report card for the year from 'Effective' to 'Continuous Improvement.' Lockland is now labeled as an 'At-Risk' district.

The rating for Lockland Elementary was also dropped from 'Continuous Improvement' to 'Academic Watch' and is now rated as an 'At-Risk' school. Arlington Heights Academy, which previously did not have enough reported students to generate a rating, is now rated 'Continuous Improvement.' School report card ratings remain unchanged for Lockland High School and Lockland Middle School.

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.

"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."

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