ELMSFORD, N.Y. — Elmsford school administrators are set to roll out their plan to keep out-of-towners out of their schools.
For the first time ever, parents of children in five grade levels will be forced to re-register students and give proof of residency before school starts in the fall. If they don’t, parents risk having their children tossed from the Elmsford Union Free School District.
The plan is part of a districtwide effort to crack down on out-of-district students, a problem that has bubbled to the surface in recent months, administrators said.
“I can certainly say there were enough issues, and things got worse this year, to make this seem like a logical step,” said Jeffrey Olender, director of technology and registration in the district.
In May, administrators released the findings of a districtwide investigation that found nearly two dozen students were living outside Elmsford boundaries, coming from places such as Yonkers, White Plains and Ossining. Since then, Olender said, administrators have given a few more students the boot after finding they lived outside district lines.
Under the old rules, unless administrators had reason to believe a student was not living in the district, parents were only required to register their children before they started kindergarten.
“The theory is that a child registered for kindergarten and did not have their residency checked again their entire 13 years in the Elmsford School District,” Olender said.
While the departed students won’t save the district much — if any — money, parents and Board of Education members called it a matter of principle. They argued it was unfair for taxpayers to be footing the bill for students not living in Elmsford.
So, starting this summer, students entering kindergarten, second, fifth, seventh and 10th grades will have to re-register with the district. Students will not be allowed to attend classes until parents bring their children’s birth certificates and three forms of proof of residency, such as a telephone bill or cable bill.
For the most part, Olender said, parents have embraced the change.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive and the sentiment is that this is a good thing and we should have done it sooner,” he said.
To ease the process, administrators have set up six days in July and August when extra staff will be on hand to help parents with re-registration. However, Olender said, parents can register their children anytime during regular business hours this summer.
“We’re pretty excited about this and think it will be pretty effective,” he said.
For complete a list of dates, policies and acceptable forms of proof, visit the district website.