Area residents will have every right to be furious if they learn local school districts are among those that have been tampering with data to make it look as if student attendance is better than actually is the case. At least three districts, including one serving Columbus, have been doing just that.
State Auditor Dave Yost's office plans to investigate attendance reports from all Ohio school districts. Last week he urged school superintendents who believe inaccurate claims have been made to let his office know.
''Voluntary self-reporting demonstrates good intentions,'' Yost wrote.
Indeed it does. Mistakes can be made, especially when complex reports such as those required by the state are involved.
School officials should take Yost's advice. Those caught intentionally ''cooking the books'' should be fired.