Columbus schools to fire 4 principals

State audit called out fraud, intimidation in data reporting


Columbus schools officials say they are moving to fire four principals today after a state audit called out a culture of fraud and intimidation in the district's data reporting.

State Auditor Dave Yost released the findings of his 18-month-long investigation early today. Student-data tampering within Columbus City Schools was systemic, he found. The worst of it happened in high schools. And he's recommending that some people face criminal charges.

"This is a story of tears and sadness," the auditor said in a news release. "A culture existed in Columbus schools in which staff at all levels believed data needed to be manipulated or they would face negative consequences to their careers."

The data changes were led, the auditor said, by the district's data czar, Steve Tankovich and by Michael Dodds, an administrator who oversaw a group of schools.

Tankovich specifically instructed principals to change their data to improve report cards, Yost said.

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