- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The state auditor says the East Baton Rouge Parish school system should rely more on students’ electronic records rather than paper records to validate the accuracy of grades reported to the state.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said in a brief report issued Monday that student registration, grade change, withdrawal and other paper records are maintained by each school’s guidance department.

The report found the maintenance for paper records varied greatly from school to school.

Bernard Taylor Jr., superintendent of schools, told The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1AQr3PQ ) Monday that Purpera’s review is most notable for the fact that it found no evidence of fraud or malfeasance in reporting grades. Taylor said it “clearly debunks some of the erroneous statements” made by some critics of the district when the issue surfaced.

Taylor said Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, compared the controversy to Watergate, a scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

In a written response, Taylor said issues raised in Purpera’s review were addressed in a report that the district submitted to the state Department of Education on May 2.

The East Baton Rouge Parish school system “is aware of the concerns and has taken steps, and continues to research processes to eliminate all potential errors in managing student data,” Taylor wrote.

The corrective action plan includes new safeguards to prevent similar problems in the future.

Earlier this year, local school officials also delayed giving out diplomas for weeks to make sure all 2,000 graduates of the class of 2014 had correct transcripts.

Purpera’s review acknowledged recent changes.

The report is the third of its kind amid questions about the accuracy of student records in East Baton Rouge Parish public schools.

Purpera’s report follows one critical of the district’s record keeping that the state Department of Education issued in March.

State Superintendent of Education John White referred the findings to Purpera’s office and the state inspector general, saying they involved possible malfeasance and misuse of public funds.

A second review, at the request of the district, was done by Postlethwaite & Netterville.

It found no evidence of fraud on the part of the school staff, although it did show the school system had some problems with record keeping.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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