Springboro schools disappointed by state’s refusal to rectify report card inaccuracies

Springboro school district officials are expressing frustration with the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (ODEW) for refusing to rectify inaccuracies in their state report card. However, state officials contend that the district self-reported its data and is responsible for filing any appeals on time.

In a letter addressed to parents on Thursday afternoon, Springboro Superintendent Carrie Hester stated that the district had notified ODEW of errors in the “early literacy” component when the state report cards were published on September 14, 2023. Despite the district still receiving the highest overall rating of five stars on the report card, it received a three-star rating in early literacy, which indicated that 58.6% of its kindergarten students were on track to meet state standards for this component. Hester deemed this rating inaccurate, highlighting that 838 students in grades K-2, who were all on-track and did not have a Reading Improvement Plan, were not counted by ODE toward the 2022-23 state report card results due to a data error.

Springboro schools administrators had informed ODE about the error last fall, but were told that no extensions or exceptions could be made for appeals once they were missed. Hester emphasized that if a data error large enough to impact a district had occurred, it would typically appear on a “General Issues Data Report,” but no such report was issued by ODE. This oversight prevented Springboro from having the opportunity to file an appeal through ODE and potentially receive a five-star rating in all five components of the report card.

Hester further underscored that by not correcting the error, ODE is generating incorrect baseline data that will affect Springboro’s report cards for the next 2-3 years. Despite these challenges, she praised the efforts of teachers, staff, students, parents, and the community in investing in early literacy work, emphasizing the exceptional work accomplished.

The state employs a “watermark” system to label any report cards found to contain data errors after the fact. Springboro’s report card on the state website has such a watermark, alerting viewers to the misreported data.

Lacey Snoke, the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce’s chief communications officer, reiterated that the data published on the report cards are self-reported by the districts, and it is each district’s responsibility to submit accurate data. While Snoke acknowledged the presence of the watermark on Springboro’s report card, Walt Davis, an appointed State Board of Education member, expressed dissatisfaction with the situation, advocating for an “emergency stop” in the report card system to allow for corrections.

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