Education A National Roundup

Cleveland Schools Admit Errors in Attendance Reports to State

By Karla Scoon Reid — October 25, 2005 1 min read

The Ohio Department of Education is monitoring an effort by the Cleveland school system to explain why the district misreported student-attendance data.

Since 2002, the 63,000-student district has underreported students’ excused absences to the state. The district reported 620 such absences for the 2004-05 school year; after a second review this month, district officials said excused absences totaled roughly 519,000 for that school year.

Employees who no longer work for the district counted students “present” if they were absent from school but were completing classroom work at home, said Lisa Marie Ruda, the district’s chief of staff.

The decision to count the students as present put the attendance rate at about 93 percent, a figure that is still under review. The attendance rate was 89 percent in 2001.

J.C. Benton, a spokesman for the Ohio department, said the state would monitor the district’s review of its data-collection and -reporting process. State law permits the department to withhold 10 percent of a district’s funding for misreporting data.

Ms. Ruda said the attendance miscalculations do not affect the district’s per-pupil funding or its state accountability ratings.

A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 2005 edition of Education Week