District probes residency of 80 public school students

December 3, 2012

The District is investigating the residency of 80 students who attended school at D.C. taxpayers’ expense in 2011-12 but have not been able to prove that they live in Washington, according to city officials.

The Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Inspector General are conducting the investigations, which were first reported by the Washington Examiner.

Of the 80 students under investigation, seven attended a public charter school, 26 attended a traditional public school and 47 attended private schools at public expense because city schools were not equipped to meet their special education needs.

The District pays an average of $65,000 a year for such students’ private-school tuition and transportation, officials said, suggesting that the city may have spent about $3 million educating nonresident special education students last year.

Parents of students found to have lied about their residency may be prosecuted and forced to pay nonresident tuition, which ranges from $9,124 to $12,226, not including the additional costs for students with special needs.

The students were referred for investigation after the Office of the State Superintendent of Education could not verify their residency during an annual audit last year.

Emma Brown writes about D.C. education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.
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