Richland School District’s board moved, on Monday, to hire a private investigator, as needed, to look into district residency issues.
“If you’re not a resident of the district, your child cannot go to the district,” board solicitor Timothy Leventry said following the meeting.
Superintendent Arnold Nadonley said after the meeting that Richland has had “numerous” cases of students enrolled and attending Richland schools without actually living within the boundaries of the district.
He went on to explain that there have been some situations where parents have gone to extra lengths to hide the fact that an incorrect address was used to enroll the student.
Nadonley stated that it isn’t fair for taxpayers within the district to be covering the cost of a student who isn’t residing there.
At the moment there isn’t a private investigator chosen to handle these matters. Nadonley and Leventry explained that for safety reasons the district won’t be releasing the name of the investigator when one is chosen and the pair will be responsible for the hiring search.
“Residency issues are becoming bigger and bigger,” Leventry said.
Nadonley stated that Richland has dealt with this issue before and will continue to address it “aggressively.”
The item was not originally scheduled to be handled on the agenda, but instead was added as the meeting began. Leventry stated that there was no specific incident for the addition.
In the situation when a student is found to be enrolled in the district and shouldn’t be, Leventry said their parent or guardian will be asked to pay a tuition fee for the time the student did attend the school.
That tuition will only apply to these specific enrollment cases. Leventry noted that Richland doesn’t accept tuition for students who live outside of the district.
In the case of a parent refusing to pay the backlog tuition fee, legal action will be taken, Leventry said. As for the student, he or she will be made to continue schooling at the correct district where he or she lives.
Nadonley and Leventry agreed that they understand why parents may be signing children up to attend school at Richland, but said it couldn’t be allowed to continue.
“It’s understandable but it’s not proper,” Leventry said.
Another concern of the two, besides the taxpayers covering a students tuition, is the cost to the school district. That’s because as additional students are enrolled in Richland, additional faculty may be needed to handle them, district officials said.