Just over 20 students have been removed from Grosse Pointe Public Schools this school year for attending classes without residing in the district.
During this school year a total of 21 students were told to leave after district officials completed 94 residency investigations. Of those investigations, 36 resulted from complaints or tips from parents or residents to the district’s tip line and online form.
Christian Fenton, Deputy Superintendent of Business Affairs and Operations, said during Monday’s school board meeting that the rest came as a result of “the normal process," through the schools. That is by district officials receiving reports of returned mail or by teachers, counselors, office staff or principals becoming aware of students who don’t appear to live where they say they do.
In addition to conducting the investigations, the district has also spent the last several weeks verifying some 200 leases and it is currently in the process of verifying month-to-month leases.
Grosse Pointe Public Schools families can expect to see random residency verification paperwork showing up in January or February, Fenton said. The audit will be random and some parents have threatened they will not comply.
Talk of school district residency – and how it should be enforced – has quieted in recent weeks as other educational issues have come forward. However earlier this year, the discussions were loud and argumentative resulting in the district and school board being tugged in two directions.
On one side of the residency issue, a group called Residents for Residency demanded stricter enforcement and a district-wide policy that would require all students prove residency via an affidavit every school year.
Those opposed to the annual affidavits called it a waste of time and money, a witch-hunt and accusations of racism were part of the debate.
Fenton brought the information about this year's residency investigations and violations to the board meeting on Monday as part of a regular board update.
Residency By the Numbers
The school district’s website shows that the expulsions seem to be on track with past years' data.
During the 2011-2012 school year, 183 students were investigated and 42 were excluded. Nine of the investigations resulted from residents’ tips.
The prior year 142 students were investigated and 48 were expulsed and tips from 12 residents led to investigations.
In the 2009-2010 school year, 351 investigations were conducted - 15 of them from resident tips - and 60 students were told to leave the district.
The peak number of excluded students was in 2008-2009, when 278 investigations resulted in the departure of 66 students. In the two previous school years, 47 and 49 students left for residency violations and in 2005-2006, 26 were removed.
No data was kept on resident tips during the three school years between 2005 and 2008.