Columbus City Schools
Posted on 7/31/2014
Defendant: Stephen Tankovich
Stephen B. Tankovich, former Executive Director of the Office of Accountability Systems for
the Columbus City Schools, will appear in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court today to
face a Felony Charge for Attempted Tampering with Government Records. The records involved
are student attendance records required to be kept by the Columbus City Schools and which are
submitted to the Ohio Department of Education. The manipulation of that student data affected
the attendance data for particular schools and the columbus school district, a measurement
known as Adequate Yearly progress, and Ohio Graduation Test results.
Tankovich is scheduled to appear before Common Pleas Court Adminstrative Judge Patrick E.
Sheeran courtroom 4-A, 345 S. High St at 10:00 A.M. and is represented by Columbus attorney
Mark C. Collins.
Tankovich is expected to waive indictment by the grand jury on this felony charge and consent to
being prosecuted by a Bill of Information-a charge filed by the Prosecutor rather than a Grand
Tankovich has entered into a written plea agreement with the State that provides that he will
enter a "No Contest" plea to the Charge, which is a Fourth degree felony and punishable by a
maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine, and stipulate a finding of guilty. A
"No Contest" plea is an admission of the facts and allegations in a charge and that the conduct
constitutes a crime under Ohio law; and is frequently entered when there are collateral issues that
are still pending-such as civil cases or insurance coverage-related to the same matters.
Tankovich is a party to civil proceedings related to the Columbus City Schools data
A pre-sentence investigation is expected to be ordered by Judge Sheeran prior to the imposition
The plea agreement with Tankovich calls for him to cooperate with the prosecutors office, state
auditor, FBI, Columbus City Attorney, and U.S. Attorney in the investigation of these issues and
to truthfully testify in any subsequent grand jury or trial proceedings involving other persons,
either in state or federal court. Pursuant to that plea agreement Tankovich and his attorney have
met with officals on two separate occasions and given a statement as well as answered questions
presented to him regarding this data manipulation scheme.
Those persons involved in working together on this continuing inquiry have been U.S. Attorney
Carter Stewart's office, including Assistants Douglas Squires and Ken Affeldt with FBI agent
Daniel Leeper and SA Justin Burt of U.S. Department of Education OIG; Ohio Auditor David
Yost, and his Investigators Michael Spiert and Dennis Graul with Deputy Legal Counsel Robert
F. Smith; City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. and Chief Prosecutor Lara Baker-Moorish.
Jeffrey Blake, the Director of the Economic Crime Unit of this office, has coordinated the matter
for the prosecution.