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School Board to Consider Revisions to Residency Requirements

mmovinginA much discussed policy on the admittance of non-resident students has been revised by the district lawyers and will be voted on at the meeting of the Scarsdale School Board on July 6th. At the end of the June 12 meeting, where they was a first reading, Dr. Hagerman announced that these were in the agenda but did not read or explain the changes. There was no board discussion about the policies at that time.

Policy 5152 dictates rules for the admission of non-resident students to district schools. After the district got more stringent about enforcing these rules during the school year, complaints emerged, specifically from divorced parents and those whose homes were being renovated.

You can view the proposed revisions here:

Here is a review of the changes:

First, the old policy said that the district will accept tuition paying students under limited circumstances, and with the approval of the Superintendent and Board of Education. In the new policy, "the Board of Education" has been eliminated, and instead says, "with the approval of the Superintendent, subject to the provision of this policy."

The prior policy required payment of annual tuition for non-resident students up front, while the new policy allows for payment in three installments in September, January and April.

The prior policy allowed those who own an unoccupied house in the district to attend the school tuition-free provided that: the student had lived in the house for the prior three years, it was unoccupied due to a renovation and the parents continued to own the home and did purchase another residence.

In the new policy, this entire provision has been eliminated. Therefore, it appears that if you own a home in the district that is under renovation and move out, you will need to pay tuition to send your children to district schools.  This does not appear to conform to New York State law that does allow non-resident students to attend, "upon the consent of the trustees or the board of education," and stipulates, "The school authorities of a district or city must deduct from the tuition of a nonresident pupil, whose parent or guardian owns property in such district or city and pays a tax thereon for the support of the schools maintained in such district or city, the amount of such tax."

If you buy a house before the start of school but fail to move in, you can pay tuition for up to three months to enroll your children in school. After three months, if you have not moved in you will need an extension from the Superintendent to continue attending school. (Note: It is not clear from the policy what happens if you move in a few weeks after the start of school. Do you receive a pro-rated refund of the tuition paid?)

Students whose parents move out of the district after the completion of eleventh grade can pay tuition to finish at Scarsdale High School with the approval of the Superintendent and advance payment of tuition.

The former policy allowed children who were living with relatives, another Scarsdale family or foster parents to attend the schools if the Scarsdale caregivers were given full custody. However in the new policy, this clause has been deleted.But this appears to be contradicted in the implementation guidelines below t(5152R) where there is a provision for guardians to provide documentation of custody.

Regulation 5152-R details verification and investigation of pupil addresses. This was the provision that caused consternation among divorced parents who the district asked for custody arrangements and divorce agreements. This policy was also used to question people who had moved out of their homes during renovations.

Here are the proposed revisions to the policy: (Deleted text is in red – proposed new text is in green):

1. The address of the parents must be the address of residence for each student. If a student claims residence with a person other than his/her parent(s), evidence of the transfer of full care, custody, and control must be established by the person claiming such transfer. legal guardianship or permanent residence must be presented.

2. Should a student's address change at any time during his/her enrollment, residency must be confirmed by the parent. an acceptable document; e.g., a lease, a utility bill, a voter registration card.

3. If a student's address is not the address of his/her parent(s) or legal guardian(s), the Building Principal shall consult the Census Office to confirm the procedures used in determining the student's current address. The Census Office shall then investigate and provide specific evidence with regard to of the child's claim to of residency.

4. If the evidence indicates that a student's address has been purposefully changed in order for him/her to attend a school in a district other than the one he/she is legally entitled to attend, he/she shall be immediately excluded from the schools of the District consistent with the law. transferred to the appropriate district.

5. Student registration shall not be delayed pending verification of the address. A verification and/or investigation shall take place after student registration has been effected, but before the student is admitted for attendance.

The revisions to these policies will be voted on by the Board of Education at their July 6 meeting.

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