CLEVELAND -- The Ohio State Auditor says Cleveland and four other districts in Ohio appear to have manipulated attendance figures -- so that lower scoring students were not counted in State Report Cards.
State Auditor Dave Yost also said the Cleveland Municipal School District is also unauditable because of its sloppy record keeping.
Yost looked at 15 Cleveland public schools and asked for the records of 3,700 students. He concluded that some were "scrubbed"; that is, improperly removed from the list in order to improve the district's report card ratings.
Parents don't want to believe that the district manipulated the numbers.
"It brings the integrity down for the district. Not just the school, but the district. I pray that it isn't true," said Nakaii Jinnings, whose son attends Collinwood High School.
The report named six Cleveland schools for poor record keeping: Collinwood, John Adams High, Glenville High, Lincoln West High, Walton Elementary and Buckeye Woodland Elementary Schools.
"I wouldn't think the teachers would do that against the kids," said Michelle Dowery, another parent.
Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon agreed that the district has record keeping problems which need to be addressed.
But Gordon denies that they gamed the system.
"Of these 15 schools, 12 are D's and F's and one of them doesn't have a rating. To suggest that we would be trying to manipulate scores to get D's and F's, even as we went to Columbus to get help, that doesn't make sense," Gordon said.
A Glenville grandmother shook her head when hearing the news of the state report.
"Cleveland public schools need a lot of help. I'm not saying that's the way to get it. But they just need a lot of help. Legitimate help," Marlene Bell said.
The State Auditor is expected to release another report before November.