Emily Stahly

Last week, a principal and a vice principal from the Riverview Gardens School District filed a lawsuit alleging that district administrators falsified attendance records. The district has denied the claims.

At this point, nothing has been established—all we know is that an accusation has been made and denied. But in any case, attendance numbers are more important than many people realize. Not only do attendance data affect how much funding the district receives from the state, but they also factor in the Annual Performance Review and the district’s accreditation classification.

Last December, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to reclassify Riverview Gardens as provisionally accredited. According to state law, because the district was no longer unaccredited, students from Riverview Gardens lost the right to transfer to better-performing districts. If the accreditation of the district was based on incorrect attendance information, then students may have been unfairly deprived of better educational opportunities.

I do not doubt that there has been real progress in the district in the past few years, but the integrity of the attendance numbers is vital so that the district can be evaluated according to its true performance. We will continue to watch this story closely as it develops. 

About the Author

Emily Stahly

Emily Stahly is an analyst at the Show-Me Institute. She earned her B.A. in politics from Hillsdale College in Michigan and is researching education with the Show-Me Institute.