Report: Ex-DeKalb Schools chief’s last district finds inflated attendance

Former DeKalb County School Superintendent Steve Green
Former DeKalb County School Superintendent Steve Green

Kansas City Public Schools  officials manipulated student attendance records to regain full accreditation between 2013 and 2016, when former DeKalb County School District Superintendent Steve Green led the Kansas City district, a published report says.

According to the Kansas City Star,  the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education alerted district officials to the data tampering in January, which occurred under Green and Al Tunis, who led the district as interim superintendent until Green’s replacement was hired. Student attendance is critical to accreditation in Missouri and is factored into state performance scores, the paper reports.

Districts also receive funding based on every day a child is in school. An unspecified amount will have to be repaid for each inflated attendance record.

“This district cannot afford to take a hit for one penny,” Mark Bedell, Kansas City Public Schools’ superintendent, told the Kansas City Star.

Officials told the newspaper an independent investigation by a district-hired law firm determined seven employees were responsible for the inflated numbers. Three of them no longer worked for the district. Four current employees were placed on paid administrative leave. Officials did not say whether Green was among those responsible.

Kansas City Schools lost its accreditation effective January 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.

The DeKalb County Board of Education severed ties with Green on Nov. 11, 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.

In Other News