Former principal loses license for two years - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Former principal loses license for two years

PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) - The state has suspended the certificate of a former principal accused of making an unauthorized grade policy change to benefit his daughter.

The Ohio Department of Education suspended Michael Schifer's high school principal certificate and his high school counselor certificate for two years.

State officials said Tuesday that the punishment stemmed from "alteration of student grade-point averages and inclusion of an erroneous grading policy in the student handbook."

Schifer, who resigned in April 2002 as Port Clinton High School principal, said he believed an assistant principal had gotten board approval for a new grading plan while Schifer was on vacation in Florida in August 2000.

The department accused Schifer of changing the calculation of grade point averages to enable his daughter, who graduated last year, to be ranked in the top two in her class to receive a college scholarship.

Schifer's attorney, John Coppeler, said his client's daughter did not need that ranking to receive her scholarship.

Coppeler said he was pleased that the state determined that this was not intentional and that the suspension was better than revocation.

Schifer denied he did anything wrong.

At issue was a process Port Clinton developed to calculate students' grade point averages based on honors courses they took.

The school gave added weight to an honors' course grade to encourage students to take the harder class.

Weighted grades are based on a 5.0 grade point average rather than the standard 4-point system.

Bart Anderson, Port Clinton superintendent, said he discovered a discrepancy in grading procedures last spring when a student approached him with questions about his average and class rank.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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