The Fort Lee Board of Education last week passed resolutions to notify the parents of five students determined to be in violation of the district’s residency requirements that they are ineligible to attend Fort Lee schools and that the district intends to take legal action to recover back tuition.
Fort Lee Board of Education president Arthur Levine said they are the first five cases since the school district formed a residency committee, hired a new residency officer and announced it would “more vigorously enforce” residency requirements and adopt stronger measures to ensure that students who are not residents of the borough do not attend Fort Lee Schools.
He also said that “on average,” the problem is costing the school district $15,000 per student per year, and that while school officials don’t know exactly how many students may still be in violation, they do know “there’s a number out there.”
“If someone is here improperly, we want them out, and we want to send a message,” Levine told Patch. “It’s putting an additional burden on the taxpayer. It’s putting an additional burden on our system, which, with our overcrowding, we can ill afford.
The news prompted the following reactions—among others—from Patch readers:
- “I'm curious to know how the BOE can collect the tuition. I doubt they can actually get that type of money back from the families involved.”
- “Thank you Mr. Levine. Finally something is being done. Now we only have 195 more students to find.”
- “These people (non residents) have been doing this for years—the new officer guy catches them in under six months, what has been going on before then......makes me wonder, why all of a sudden we have so many 'found', I am a bit angry actually!”
Now we want to know what you think about the school district going after families sending their kids to Fort Lee schools in violation of residency requirements. Do you think it’s possible for the district to collect on the back tuition? Do you think the first five cases announced last week send a strong enough “message?” How many other violators do you think might be out there? What ideas do you have for better dealing with the problem, or do you think the BOE is doing it right?