Copley-Fairlawn district seeks wrongfully enrolled
By Pam Lifke
Parents questioned the Copley-Fairlawn City Schools Board of Education at the Nov. 20 meeting about the board’s pursuit of wrongfully enrolled students, those who do not live within the district’s boundaries.
The board, in a letter to parents, offered a $100 reward to anyone providing information leading to the removal of wrongfully enrolled students. Treasurer John Wheadon said several people have responded to the appeal with information, but few were interested in the reward. He said those providing information on wrongfully enrolled students were more interested in doing the right thing than in the money.
School officials estimated as many as 100 students may be wrongfully enrolled. At a cost of $8,000 to educate each student, those who were not legally enrolled could place a heavy financial burden on the school, they said.
Wheadon said he usually gets about 165 referrals a year and all are investigated. Copley-Fairlawn City Schools is not an open-enrollment district, which means it does not automatically accept students from other districts. Students who live outside the district may apply for admission to the district and, if accepted, must pay tuition, said Superintendent Roger Saurer.
The enrollment process requires extensive documentation of residency, Wheadon said. Parents or guardians must provide a notarized residency affidavit form, a rent or lease agreement or deed. If a home sale is not complete or a new home not finished, parents or guardians must submit a letter from a real estate broker, bank officer or builder. Parents or guardians also must submit additional proofs of residency, which may include utility bills, pay stubs or public assistance forms and a driver’s license, state identification card or voter registration card. Divorced parents or guardians must submit divorce decrees outlining custody arrangements, notice of appointment of guardianship from probate court or a certified journal entry designating custody and the school district responsible for educating.
Parents or guardians who wrongfully enroll students in Copley-Fairlawn Schools may face criminal charges, Wheadon said. They also may be asked to pay restitution.
Also during the meeting, the board heard a report on Fort Island Primary School from Principal Robert Whitaker. Fort Island received an Excellent rating from the Ohio Department of Education and will seek to improve its 88 percent proficiency rate for fourth-grade writing on state proficiency tests, Whitaker said. He also outlined special programs at the school, including the land lab, Walking Club and a recent Veterans’ Day celebration.
District Students of the Month for October also were honored at the meeting and include:
Arrowhead Primary School: fourth-grader Bayley Hays, daughter of Donna and Todd Hays, of Copley. She was nominated by teacher Carol Sandora.
Fort Island Primary School: fourth-grader Jarod Deagan, son of Patrick and Kathy Deagan, of Copley. He was nominated by teacher Julie Coffee.
Herberich Primary School: fourth-grader Amanda Coteat, daughter of Jermaine and Kelly Coteat, of Copley. She was nominated by teachers Mary Hoolihan and Beth Kasper.
Copley-Fairlawn Middle School: seventh-grader Courtney Aalseth, daughter of Linda Aalseth, of Copley. She was nominated by a group of teachers.
Copley High School: 12th-grader Yan Zhuang, the daughter of Hou Zhuang and Xue Feng, of Copley. He was recommended by teacher Nancy Shehata.
In other business, the board:
√ accepted a donation of the Sally Foster Fund-raiser Prize Package valued at $190 from the Fort Island PTA;
√ approved several updated board policies;
√ approved payment in lieu of transportation for students attending Archbishop Hoban High School, St. Sebastian School, Hudson Montessori School, St. Vincent De Paul Elementary, Sacred Heart Parish School, Spring Garden Waldorf School, Sts. Peter and Paul School, Lawrence School, Chapel Hill Christian School and Lake Center Christian School;
√ hired home instruction tutors and substitute certified personnel for the 2007-08 school year;
√ approved resignations and employed full-time and substitute classified personnel for the 2007-08 school year;
√ approved employment of supplemental personnel, including Peggy Messaros as MathCounts coach and Betty Hartman as Science Olympiad coach; and
√ set its organizational meeting for Jan. 8 at 6 p.m.
The board’s next meeting is set for Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. in the main office conference room at Copley High School, 3797 Ridgewood Road.