Canton public schools audit reveals discrepancies/errors
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1:00 PM
Canton Public Schools has failed to properly report absences and suspensions, along with failing to comply with other policies, according to a recent performance review by the state auditor's office.
Canton was one of four districts reviewed this spring.
According to Brett Kittredge with the Auditor's Office, "The Office of the State Auditor's Performance Audit Division regularly performs a limited review of the accuracy and reliability of student and personnel data transmitted to the Mississippi Department of Education for the purpose of determining funding for school districts."
Kittredge explained the reviews look at enrollment, attendance, absences, posting of historical documents, and reporting attendances/suspensions to name a few.
According to the auditor's report, CPS did not follow policy in several areas. When looking at student enrollment records across the three schools, 36 of the 71 students whose records were reviewed had missing, incomplete or invalid proofs of residency.
The district said they have since corrected these files after the report's findings.
At McNeal Elementary School and Canton High School, 20 of the 52 student records did not match information in the student package.
With regards to attendance and absenteeism, 14 of 15 excuses at McNeal did not contain enough evidence to validate an excused absence. At Nichols, that number was three of four, and at CHS, that number was 15 of 28.
The district responded that they have new reporting standards in place.
Neither of the schools properly followed the policy of reporting unexcused absences, with 27 of the total 92 students reviewed as not being reported to an attendance officer after five unexcused absences. The attendance officers at each school, however, did follow the policy of reporting unexcused absences.
The same issue appeared to be with suspensions, too. Twelve of the 16 suspensions reviewed were not reported to the attendance officer as required by law.
At CHS, four of the 17 senior students revealed to not have enough carnegie units available to graduate.
The district has since said that these four students qualified to graduate under the new Career Pathway Option.
As far as posting historical documents, 14 of the 27 classrooms at McNeal Elementary did not have them posted. At Nichols, only 9 of the 26 classrooms posted the documents, and 41 of the 55 at CHS did not post the documents.
The district said these documents were not in proper frames and have since been ordered.
At McNeal Elementary School, none of the 516 students were assigned textbooks. At Nichols, 198 of the 325 students were not assigned textbooks, and at CHS, 123 of the 412 students were not assigned textbooks.
According to the school district, at McNeal Elementary, there are only "consumable workbooks" so no textbooks are issued.
At Nichols and CHS, some areas utilized classroom sets and others were assigned.
None of the three schools were found in compliance of required safety laws and policies.
According to the district, the safety plans had not been approved by the board at the time of the review.
Calls to Superintendent Dwight Luckett's office were not returned as of press time.