Central school board voting on tougher proof-of-residency requirements
POSTED: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 3:48pm
Central, LA (NBC33) — Central's school board will vote Monday night whether or not to put more restrictions on who can attend class there.
The Central Community School System has a little more than 4,000 students. But people are worried that some of them do not belong.
Superintendent Mike Faulk drafted a proposal to force applicants to show more proof they live within the district after hearing from frustrated residents.
"And they, the taxpayers," Faulk said, "are paying for somebody else's education."
Central has one of the best school districts in Louisiana. When the state gave out grades last week, four of Central's five schools earned A's.
Frustration over parents who sneak their children into the school system have intensified over the last couple years, prompting Faulk to write a plan to add greater protection for the district.
"Since that time, I've heard from parents, I've heard from employees, I've heard from board members," he stated.
Superintendent Faulk's proposal asked for two layers of residency verification, instead of one. Rules were modified for both renters and homeowners. He claimed the public favored increased restrictions but thought some of his ideas were unnecessary, such as requiring renters insurance, which is not mandated by law. They also said asking for income tax returns would constitute an invasion of privacy.
Faulk rewrote his plan and presented it to the board during Monday night's meeting. He added a provision forcing anyone who rents property in Central and owns a home elsewhere to show that they gave up the homestead exemption on their other piece of land.
"Because if they don't do that," Faulk explained, "then in actuality, they have dual residencies."
The new policy would also impact some staff members. Under the current policy, all staff may enroll their kids in Central schools, even if they live outside the district. Faulk's first draft limited that ability to only qualified teachers and administrators. But he got some push-back, so he restored that privilege for all full-time staff.
"That's one of the, I guess you could say the carrots of working (here)," he stated. "Their children get to come to school with them."
But Faulk said his main concern is making sure parents do not defraud the system. If they want their kids in Central schools, they should pay for it.
"What they want," Faulk said, "is the best education possible for their children. What we want is to provide that education to the children that live in Central."