"Over the past five to seven years, for many reasons, our privacy has been invaded by those who want an education in our schools, but do not live in Upper Darby and do not pay taxes in Upper Darby," testified Upper Darby Superintendent Joseph Galli. "This act of deceit must be a crime and it must be treated like a crime through the legal system. We are appealing to you, our legislators, to stiffen the laws and help us enforce them."
Upper Darby serves about 12,400 students, has the largest high school in the state and experiences growth of about 400 students a year, according to Galli. Kochman testified that enrollment jumps in recent years have made six of the district's 12 schools overpopulated...
Illegal students come in three main categories, Galli said: those with fraudulent paper work, those who maintain two residences or who have multiple occupancies, and, lastly, foreign families who stay in the country after their visa expires.
Upper Darby is absolutely stuffed with people - moderate housing prices, decent schools, and low crime rates see to that - so it doesn't surprise me to find out that the schools are stuffed as well. Upper Darby is also as multicultural as they come - the graveyard behind me has Greek, Thai, Vietnamese, Irish, and African headstones - so a foreign family of any kind wouldn't have trouble blending in. UDHS cranks out over 800 graduates a year; how they keep track of just the seniors is beyond me.
Oh ho, there's a comment about test scores in here as well:
Kochman testified that once the district finds out that a student is illegal, the process to disenroll takes months and requires the district to pay costly legal fees. The constant influx of new students who have attended multiple schools also lowers standardized test scores, according to Kochman.
Why would it take months to disenroll someone who doesn't live in that school district? That doesn't seem like something for which the school should have to fight so hard. According to this article, the law is already pretty clear, and it's the assessment part that's troublesome:
State law is clear. Students living with a nonparent are entitled to a free public education where they live if the nonparent is financially responsible for the child, and keeps the child in his or her home permanently, not just during the school year. School boards may demand proof of both, and the resident can be held liable for tuition costs for the time an ineligible child attended classes.Posted by kswygert at May 4, 2005 08:13 PM
"The greatest challenge is that we as educators are neither trained to do investigative policing of residents, nor should we," said Joseph A. Galli, superintendent of the Upper Darby School District in Delaware County.
Volkman said Susquehanna Twp. has hired, for about $130,000 per year, three retired police officers who visit the homes where the students claim to live.