School districts taking measures to prevent illegal enrollments

PATASKALA, OH (WCMH) — Most parents have a goal of providing their children with the best educational options possible.  There are some parents in Central Ohio who are willing to break the law in order to provide a quality education for their children.

All over the state, parents knowingly enroll their children in a school district where they do not qualify as residents.  Some will use a post office box, others will give a bogus address where only an empty lot stands.The Licking Heights school district is in the middle of a massive student enrollment period, where the district has jumped from 1,984 students in 2004 to a current enrollment of 4,209.

Jennifer Fanko is the mother of seven children in the Licking Heights School District and believes all of the parents should play by the rules. “It’s flattering to have a district where people want to be, but yeah, it does surprise me that people will jump through hoops to get their children in a district they don’t live,” says Fanko.

Like other districts, resources in Licking Heights can get stretched with overpopulated classrooms. To address the problem the district stopped open enrollment, then hired a residency & attendance officer, who will personally check each suspected case of residency violation.

Since the residency checks, in more than 40% of those cases resulted in students withdrawing from the district. Parents, school bus drivers and even students have informed the district of possible violations. One of the cases in Licking Heights actually went to court, with the judge ruling in favor of the school district.

Central Ohio is not alone, a few years ago, a judge sentenced an Akron woman to 10 days in jail for knowingly enrolling her daughter in a school outside of her home district. The mother served nine days.

The Licking Heights district says, it never wants to deprive a child a chance at an education, but they can connect families with their home district or connect them with some sort of social service agencies.

 

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