KCPS responds to allegations of falsifying student attendance records for 3 years

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Public Schools responded Wednesday to allegations that they falsified student attendance records for three years.

The response came after Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released the following statement Tuesday night:

"The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) appreciates the Kansas City Public Schools’ (KCPS’) thorough and transparent response to this serious issue regarding allegations of falsified student attendance records. Throughout the process, KCPS has kept DESE apprised of the status of their investigation and their timeline for resolution. DESE is working with KCPS officials to correct the falsified attendance data and collect the money owed back to the state and the Kansas City area charter schools."

KCPS said in a news release that in January 2019 they were alerted of possible attendance data inaccuracies that occurred between 2013 and 2016. The district said they immediately began an internal investigation, but then decided to have an outside party investigate.

The district said the investigation revealed that a group of seven school employees changed student attendance records in the district's system to increase the percentage of present students during those years to 90 percent.

"These actions resulted in a higher percentage of students attending class being reported to the state and the district receiving a higher-than-earned score in the Missouri School Improvement Performance Standards," according to the news release. "This misreporting also resulted in KCPS receiving more funding from the state than it was actually due."

The alleged falsifying of records has not occurred since 2016, the district added citing the investigation.

“Please know that these actions, conducted by a few in our school district, and who are no longer working for our schools, cannot and will not be tolerated or accepted," KCPS Superintendent Mark Bedell said. "While these ramifications might adversely affect our attendance data in the short-term, I remain steadfast and determined to continue our positive course we began implementing when I arrived in 2016.”

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