KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Missourinet) – The Kansas City Public School District says seven workers made up student attendance numbers from 2013 to 2016 to gain accreditation. The state decides whether to accredit districts based upon attendance, graduate rates, career readiness and academic performance. After someone tipped off the state, the district launched an independent investigation. The results of the investigation were released on Wednesday.
The superintendent at the time of the inaccuracies, Dr. Stephen Green, tells Missourinet television partner KMBC in Kansas City he’s disheartened to hear the actions happened under his watch.
“Had I known it, I would’ve taken action. Some could say I should have known it,” says Green. “But, I did not know it. I have to been straight, very honest. I did not know it.”
Green says the actions are not something he ordered or encouraged.
“Had I known about it and based on the leadership that I’ve shown there in Kansas City, I would have taken immediate and dramatic action to address and correct that action and also there would have been consequences for anyone involved in the impropriety, up to and including termination immediately if I had known that this kind of egregious behavior was going on,” he says.
Three of the seven workers allegedly involved no longer work for the district and the other four are on paid leave.
“If it involves cross-checking with people that you’ve hired to do a certain job and you tell them, there’s a point which you have to count on their overall integrity. You can’t follow them around 24/7,” says Green.
The district, which is not fully accredited and hurting for money, could also wind up owing the state money because districts are paid for every day that a student is in school. KMBC says the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education hopes to have a reimbursement figure by Thursday.
Statement from current KCPS Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell:
“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. 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.
The findings within the report revealed an unhealthy culture within parts the of school district’s staff several years ago. We have since worked tirelessly to build a new culture within the district, one that is geared toward achieving excellence while providing a workplace that inspires and empowers all people. We want to remind our community, the people of Kansas City, that we are in the midst of bringing a new vision to life on behalf of the children of Kansas City. Great things are happening for our children, and we are determined to continue helping navigate their successful futures.”
Click here to hear the full interview with Dr. Stephen Green.