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KCPS to return more than $192,000 after learning of falsified attendance reports

Data pix.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Public School District says it will return over $192,000 after an investigation showed that data on attendance records was falsified.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Tuesday said that KCPS owed $192,730.

Last month, the district shared details of an investigation into reports of falsified student attendance records over a three year period from 2013-2016.

The investigation concluded that some KCPS employees changed student attendance records in order to increase the percentage of students who were present for 90 percent of the school year.

According to DESE, the school district received $111,705 more than it should have and Kansas City charter schools received $81,025 less than they should have, equaling the $192,730 amount that KCPS will have to pay back.

"One of things I wanted to do as superintendent was look at two years prior and every year since I've been here because sometimes people may not be doing these things on purpose," Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell said. "The report may have revealed we just have terrible practices and also revealed those practices are still taking place under my tenure."

The investigation ultimately revealed that at least seven district workers coordinated to inflate district attendance numbers.

Bedell, who started in fall 2016, said investigators found the misreporting hasn't happened under his watch.

"He identified we had weaknesses in the system, so we strengthened the ethics policy," said Pattie Mansur, KCPS school board president. "We strengthened and communicated widely the whistle-blower policy."

There's now an ethics hotline, website to report problems and additional training for staff, and the district's added extra security layers to how data gets submitted to the state.

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