Hotline to ensure students are residents

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT) - Prince George County wants to pinpoint students who are attending school in the district, but are not legal residents of the county. All they're asking from resident -- is a phone call.

School leaders say kids who illegally attend school in the district put an added burden on taxpayers and the school system as a whole.

Ten year old Carl Wagner is a 5th grader in Prince George County. He loves his school.

"It's a good school. It's big enough for everybody and the teachers are good," said Carl.

Students who live in the county are welcomed inside these classrooms. But, there is a growing concern: students attending school in the district without having legal residency in the county.

To address the issue the school system has established an anonymous residency hotline. Citizens are encouraged to call and report parents or students who they suspect may be illegally attending school in the district. The school system will then investigate the tip.

"We use our school social workers to go out to and visit the exact residence to verify the residency," said Superintendent Dr Bobby Browder.

School leaders say in recent years a number of students have been caught attending classes here, when they should have been at a school in their home district. The superintendent says the illegal behavior is costly.

"It forces the district to make decisions in terms of additional buses, additional personnel, (and) additional need for facilities," said Browder.

There are also criminal consequences.

"It's a misdemeanor offense by virtue of them falsifying information," Browder said.

Eric Wagner is a Prince George County taxpayer. He supports the hotline

"It wouldn't be fair for the taxpayers who live in the county, for them to bring them in the county and use our tax dollars to educate their children," said Wagner.

School leaders say they just want to ensure that all students are attending school legally. That residency hotline number is 733-2700 extension 149.

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