Grade 9 Residency Verification Due by Start of School

August 5, 2004
Parents and guardians of students scheduled to enter ninth grade in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) this fall have been asked to submit documentation verifying their residency in Montgomery County prior to the opening of school on August 30, 2004. To date, the families of approximately 250 students (out of more than 11,000 students expected to enter ninth grade) have not yet provided verification of residency.

A process was established over the past several months to assist families in providing the required documentation for continuing enrollment in MCPS. As the opening of school nears, families are urged to comply with this requirement.

Families were originally informed of the process for residency verification, approved by the Board of Education to ensure that the parent/guardian of a student is a bona fide resident or is paying tuition to have his or her child attend MCPS, in a letter dated March 31, 2004. Follow-up letters were sent in May, June, and July to families of students who had not provided the required documentation. All letters were translated into the five major languages spoken by MPCS families. Additional telephone calls and home visits by pupil personnel workers are among the systematic efforts to ensure that every eligible student remains enrolled for the opening of school.

Homeless students or those enrolled under kinship care provisions are exempt from the residency verification process.

Parents must mail, fax, or hand deliver the requested documents to their child's high school or former middle school. (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 have received 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, OR
* If the lease is more than one year old, a copy of the lease 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:

* Either a copy of the current property tax bill of the homeowner OR a copy of the lease of the renter with whom the student and parent are living, 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.

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

For more information, contact Laura Steinberg, director, Department of Reporting and Regulatory Accountability, at 301-279-3211.

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