Superintendent says district has 'improperly counted' school attendance

Oct 12, 2017

Buffalo Public Schools are rushing to look at internal data - data on issues like attendance - to see if it is accurate.

For a long time, there has been some skepticism about the data on which the district bases its plans and decisions. Wednesday, Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash said the school system is taking a hard look at data, admitting some might not be accurate.

He did not say what brought this on, although there have certainly been been questions about attendance, separating out students who arrive late and leave early or just come for lunch. Cash cited questions about people who miss a lot of class days.

Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

"We want to also now take a look at this data, because I think we have over-counted, improperly counted, in the severe, chronic and at-risk categories," Cash said, "I think those to quite a significant degree because of our system way of counting."

Associate Superintendent for Student Support Eric Rosser said he has been working with the district's IT Department, trying to change the systems to ensure accurate data.

"I'm working with IT, working with district-level staff, as well as school-based staff, to make sure that our systems and our structures are one that will give us the best data," Rosser said. "As individuals are always indicating, bad data in is bad data out. We want to make that whatever we are producing as our attendance data that it's most accurate."

Several people at the Buffalo School Board meeting suggested part of the problem is the amount of self-reported data. East District Board Member Theresa Harris-Tigg said bad data means bad decisions about student educational needs.

"And they can't provide what the kids need," said Harris-Tigg. "They can't differentiate the instructor. They keep saying this is our ELA and that will be true in every class. No, that doesn't have to be true in every class. So it's exactly what we need."