Independent audit launched on all SCS schools

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee Department of Education hired an independent auditor to review all Shelby County schools.

The announcement of the review comes days after Trezevant High School principal Ronnie Mackin resigned, citing grade discrepancies and security breaches among his complaints against SCS.

The department said the audit came after months of communication with SCS that led to some personnel being dismissed.

"This is my school. I graduated from here. I love Trezevant," parent Jarvis Owens said.

TDOE officials said the auditor's timeline will hinge on the scope of the work needed.

This decision for an audit of transcripts for grade irregularities was not made as a result of recent allegations. Last fall, information about possible grade irregularities came to light and Shelby County and the state, including both the department's audit team and the comptroller's office, decided to do a proactive audit on all high schools. Because of the extensive nature of the audit, there was a mutual decision to get an outside, independent auditor who is contracted through Shelby County. The state and SCS will get the results from that auditor at the same time, and we will make our determinations on next steps at that point. Again, we see our key support role as working with the district after the investigation is finished to ensure that appropriate actions are taken.

Tennessee Department of Education also said it has been in "ongoing communication" with SCS about the situation for the last few months as they "reviewed and dismissed personnel."

TDOE said the decision to get an outside, independent auditor was a mutual decision and the result of the nature of the audit.

"Kids can't change the grades, only teachers can do that and if teachers did that, they were wrong," Owens said.

Owens graduated from Trezevant High School in 1989 and now his teenager attends the high school. He wants SCS administrators to dig deep into the grading discrepancies, but does not want it to have a negative impact on the students.

"How far are you going to go back? Are you going to cost everyone their school year," Owens wanted to know.

Shelby County Schools released the following statement regarding the audit:

Shelby County Schools initiated an audit of all high school records after grade discrepancies were found by school leaders at Trezevant High in September of 2016.  While there was no evidence that any other schools had discrepancies in student transcripts, the District and Tennessee Department of Education agreed a proactive audit was necessary to ensure all student records were being handled properly.  Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP  was hired in February of 2017 to conduct a thorough review of our current record-keeping practices to protect the integrity of student records. 

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