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FUHSD still scrutinizing student residency

By Anne Ward Ernst
Fremont Union High School District is still on the lookout for residency cheaters. In its ongoing residency verification program the district is in the process of scrutinizing the latest round of student registration papers. The district requires residency proof from parents and guardians who have a student currently attending or planning to attend one of the district's schools next fall.

"We're concentrating on getting the right stuff from the parents," said Shelby Spain, the district's director of attendance, guidance and alternative programs. "We're still just collecting things right now. We had registration days the last couple of weeks, and now we're looking through what we've received." Despite sending out notices weeks ago, Spain said turnout has been low, and not all students have registered. All ninth- through 11th-graders and incoming eighth-grade students are required to register, and they won't be allowed to select classes until they have done so.

Parents or guardians must show proof of residency with three pieces of documentation. These include a current picture identification such as a California state driver's license, California state identification card or a valid passport or consulate-issued photo identification. They also need either a current, valid vehicle registration, a 2005 W-2 form or a current paycheck issued by an employer with both the employer and employee name and address imprinted on the paycheck. The third piece of documentation required is an original property tax bill with parent's name and property address, or an original copy of a rental or lease agreement.

Parents of incoming eighth-graders also need to provide a copy of the student's birth certificate. Since the crackdown on residency cheaters began last year, the district has saved almost $2 million by booting out some 280 students who were not legally residing within district boundaries. FUHSD is a basic aid district, which means it does not receive money from the state on a per-pupil basis as do most districts. The district's main revenue source is property taxes, including a $100-per-parcel tax passed in November 2004.The tax base in districts with high property values and a good commercial business base provides more money to a district than if it opted for average daily student attendance revenue. Enrolled students who do not legally live in the district cause available funds to be sliced into smaller portions. Spain said the district believes it has a responsibility to the community to enforce the residency rules. Once registration is complete and all the necessary documentation has been received and sifted through, John Lozano, the district's student welfare and residency administrator, will be back on the streets conducting residency checks on those students in question. Those found to have given false residency information will be disenrolled.

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