Effort to Verify Residency Begins in 8th Grade

March 16, 2004
Parents of all eighth grade students are being asked this month to update their verification of residency in Montgomery County as part of an effort to ensure that students are bona fide residents or paying tuition to attend the Montgomery County Public Schools.

Letters are being mailed this week to all parents of students enrolled in the eighth grade, asking parents to provide a copy of the most recent documents that would verify their residence in the county. Such documents would include easy standard residency records, such as property tax bills, rental or lease agreements, and utility bills with the resident's name and address.

Parents are being asked to submit the updated documentation by April 30, 2004, so that residency verification of all eighth grade students can be completed prior to the students moving on to high schools for the upcoming school year. Students who are found not to be bona fide residents of the county will be denied enrollment next year. Such students may be eligible to pay tuition. (The current tuition rate for secondary students is $10,004.) Homeless students or those enrolled under kinship care provisions are exempt.

Only parents of eighth grade students are being asked to participate this year. The effort encompasses more than 10,000 children currently enrolled in the eighth grade. Future efforts may expand the verification to include fifth grade students prior to entering middle school.

The initiative is part of the Fiscal Year 2005 Operating Budget Request, approved by the Board of Education. It is estimated that the initiative will identify at least 100 non-resident students at a savings of $206,000 for next year.

Ensuring that students are legitimately enrolled in schools is an important effort to control expenditures and ensure that school system resources are used effectively for children who are either bono fide residents of the county, paying tuition, or receiving recognized exemptions. The only equitable way to conduct such a comprehensive verification process is to ask all parents to supply standard residency documentation.

Parents may mail, fax, or hand deliver the requested documents to their child's middle school by April 30. (Parents may maintain the confidentiality of their financial information by blocking out any monetary statements on the documents.) In addition to a form that parents will receive in the mail, parents are asked to provide the following:

If parents own their own home, they should submit:

* A copy of their most recent property tax bill.

If parents rent or lease a home or an apartment, they should submit:

* A copy of their lease or rental agreement, AND

* A current utility or telephone bill clearly bearing their name, their home address, and the date of billing. A cell phone bill or cable television bill also would be acceptable if utilities are included in their lease agreement.

If parents are in shared housing, they should submit:

* A copy of the most recent property tax bill if the home is owned by the person they are living with, AND a current utility or telephone bill bearing the name and address of the property owner; OR, a copy of the lease or rental agreement if the home or apartment is leased or rented by the person you are living with, AND a current utility or telephone bill of the leasee/renter bearing his/her name and address; AND

* Three current documents in their name showing that address as their residence. (Examples of acceptable documents could be current telephone bills, pay stubs, credit card bills, car registration, or two consecutive bank statements.); AND a Shared Housing Disclosure Form 335-74 completed by the parents and the person with whom the parents are living and notarized by a notary public.

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