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January 7, 2000

School attendance figures

State auditors found inaccuracies in public school attendance records across the state, raising questions about state aid allocation and educational performance, state Comptroller H. Carl McCall has reported.

The state Education Department and the New York City Board of Education "have to crack down on inaccurate and false reporting," the Comptroller said in releasing audits of schools in the city and in six districts elsewhere in the state.

"New York State spends more per child on education than any other state in the nation," he said. "If we invest the most, we should make sure our kids get the most."

In the Buffalo City School District, auditors found conflicting figures on different reporting systems. District officials could not explain the discrepancy or identify which report was correct, the report said.

"Most of the school districts we reviewed had weaknesses in controls over attendance systems," the report said. Such problems can result in incorrect calculations of state aid, and can weaken schools' efforts to help non-attending students, it said.

The audit called on the State Education Department to improve controls over reporting of attendance, and grading and reporting of standardized test scores.