COLUMBUS: Ohio’s education chief has informed eight school districts accused of altering attendance data that report cards they’ve been issued since 2010 will be flagged until a state Education Department investigation is completed.

Acting State Superintendent Michael Sawyers also gave districts where state Auditor Dave Yost found evidence of so-called scrubbing until March 15 to respond to his findings.

Sawyers reminded superintendents that removing poor-performing students from rolls to improve performance rankings is illegal and could mean lost education funding or revoked education licenses.

Sawyers says the eight districts’ report cards will be released with watermarks indicating the results are under review and remain unofficial.

Sawyers also ordered more than 70 districts where Yost found less serious attendance reporting errors to submit corrective action plans by March 15.