Former DeKalb County school superintendent Steve Green speaks at the DeKalb County Board of Education building during a meeting in February. EMILY HANEY / EMILY.HANEY@AJC.COM

Ex-DeKalb school chief’s Kansas City contract had attendance bonuses

Former DeKalb County School District Superintendent Steve Green stood to earn thousands annually from Kansas City Public Schools attendance increases, though he told a Missouri newspaper he had no incentive to inflate those numbers.

According to his contract with Kansas City Public Schools, Green would earn $5,000 annually if attendance increased 7% over the previous year’s numbers and up to $100,000 more per year for a perfect Annual Performance Report score. The Annual Performance Report, or APR, is an analysis of the Missouri School Improvement Performance Standards and includes 10 points for student attendance. Tuesday, he told the Kansas City Star he had no knowledge of employees inflating attendance figures and had no personal incentive to fudge numbers.

Green has not responded to calls seeking comment.

Officials did not say how much Green earned from those bonuses.

Kansas City Public Schools officials announced Wednesday that several employees were involved in a scheme that submitted inflated student attendance figures to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. School districts in Missouri receive funding based on student attendance, and points toward their APR, which includes student attendance as a grading component.

The DeKalb County Board of Education severed ties with Green on Nov. 11 after just over four years with the district, unrelated to the news out of Kansas City. He currently is under investigation by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for failing to report educators for various ethics violations.

Kansas City Schools officials said the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education alerted them to the data tampering in January, after being alerted to potential tampering by a former Kansas City Schools employee. An independent investigation found inflated numbers reported to state officials during the 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. The data tampering occurred under Green and Al Tunis, who led the district as interim superintendent after Green left for DeKalb Schools.

Data alterations were not found after the 2015-2016 school year.

The independent investigation also determined seven employees were responsible for the inflated numbers, Kansas City Public Schools officials said. Four current employees were placed on paid administrative leave. Three no longer worked for the district. Officials declined to say whether Green was among the employees.

A Kansas City Public Schools official said Green was not contacted as part of the district’s internal investigation.

The inflated numbers resulted in a higher reported percentage of students attending class, which helped the district receive a higher APR score. The district also received more funding from the state that it had not earned. An unspecified amount will have to be repaid for each inflated attendance record.

Kansas City Schools lost its accreditation effective Jan. 1, 2012. Under Green, the district was able to earn provisional accreditation, partially due to the inflated attendance figures. That work was touted when he was chosen to lead the rebounding DeKalb County School District in 2015, which at the time was “accredited on advisement” by accrediting agency AdvancED.

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