Balto. County wants more data on nonresident students

December 13, 2004|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

Responding to a legislative request, Baltimore County school officials have sent a letter to County Council members detailing the system's policy on nonresident student enrollment but including no specific information about how that policy is enforced.

The letter from schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston, dated Nov. 23, includes a copy of the policy and a school-by-school breakdown of legally enrolled out-of-county students.

But while it answers some questions, it does not go far enough or address concerns raised by parents and others about what they believe are large numbers of nonresident students in some schools, said Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, a Perry Hall-Towson Democrat.

The letter, which comes on the heels of a council resolution asking for information about the school system's efforts to identify and weed out students who fraudulently attend county schools, does not talk "in any depth about what enforcement efforts were made," he said.

"It gives me part of the answer," he said. "I don't think it gives me enough of an answer."

Gardina said he likely will send a letter to Hairston asking for more information.

The council resolution, passed in October, notes a community perception that an "inordinate number of ineligible nonresident students" are enrolled in county schools. Gardina, who sponsored the measure, has said that some school system employees told him that they were directed to selectively enforce residency issues.

The policy should be "one of no tolerance for violators," Gardina said Friday.

In his letter, Hairston explains the policy and the nine "classes of nonresident students" who can ask to attend county schools. As of Sept. 30, 1,526 out-of-county students were legally enrolled, according to the letter.

The letter does not provide the number of fraudulently enrolled students who were identified and withdrawn from the system. Schools spokesman Charles A. Herndon said Friday that the system does not have such data.

While the letter does not include specifics about policy enforcement, "certainly we can provide to the council information, should they so desire, about how we go about determining residency," he said.

"We have every obligation to determine who is here and should be here, and who is here and should not be here," Herndon said.

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