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New policies would tighten school district's enrollment requirements

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Apr 15 2013 11:14:48 PM CDT
WILSON, Pa. -

A pair of new policies is under consideration in the Wilson Area School District that would tighten requirements for enrollment, especially for non-resident students.

Schools Supt. Doug Wagner introduced the new policies at Monday night's school board meeting.

After the meeting, Wagner told WFMZ.com that more than 20 students -- about 1 percent of the district's 2,254 enrollment -- could be getting an education in district schools without being entitled to one.

A year's tuition costs more than $9,000 a student, he added.

The most significant change in the policy governing resident students is the elimination of a 30-day grace period for a proof-of-residency requirement, Wagner said.

"What has occurred is, we're chasing these individuals down sometimes for the whole [school] year," Wagner said. "It's becoming a bigger issue every year."

District residents who want to enroll their children will have to submit proof of the child's age and immunizations; a Parent Registration Statement, and two proofs of residency.

The permitted proofs include: a utility bill; a Pennsylvania ID, driver's license or vehicle registration; a copy of a statement showing enrollment in a state or federal program; a copy of a paycheck stub with the name and address of the employee and employer, and a district residency affidavit that gives permission to the district to investigate that information supplied is factual.

Two types of proofs are also required to enroll non-resident students.

However, Wagner pointed out that the new policy will allow the district to expel a non-resident student and charge the district resident supporting and maintaining the child tuition and court costs if information supplied to the district is found to be false.

The new policy would forbid the person maintaining the child from accepting compensation, Wagner said, leading school board president David Seiple to ask if this provision affects foster children.

Wagner said it would not, because the enrollment rules for foster children are different.

The new policy requires that guardianship claims be verified every year, Wagner said. "We're forever chasing if [claims of guardianship] are true or not," the superintendent noted. "This gives us an official document to show if your guardianship [claim] is true."

The board will start discussing the new policies at its next meeting, whuch is set for May 6, and try to have them in place by June.

In other business, the board voted to renew its contract with Chartwells, the company that provides cafeteria service, for the 2013-14 school year.

The price for elementary school lunches will continue to be $2.10, while intermediate and high school lunches will remain at $2.20, and adult lunches at $3. The cost of breakfast will also stay at its current price of $1.20.

The board was told by Ken Case, the district's buildings and grounds coordinator, that bids will be opened on April 25 for the partial roof replacement project at Williams Township Elementary School.

The project has been under discussion for at least five years, Case said, and is expected to cost about a half-million dollars.

Case said the area of the roof that will be replaced with multi-ply asphalt shingles dates back to 1956 and can no longer be repaired. "We think we've gotten our money's worth from that roof," he said.

The enrollment at the elementary school is 240, Wagner said.

The board moved its June 3 meeting to June 10, when it expects to adopt the 2013-14 budget, and cancelled its June 17 meeting.