When students returned to classes at Wednesday, they could be sure of one thing — the students in the seats around them actually do reside in Maine Township.
The district for the first time this year required all students — not just incoming freshmen and transfer students — to provide proof that they live in the district by showing a signed lease or property tax bill with the homestead exemption, plus at least two other documents proving residence.
According to a letter sent to parents in July, the new policy is designed to ensure District 207 taxpayers don’t unwittingly pay for educating students who live in other districts.
The letter stated: “Our intent in verifying each student's residency is to ensure that we are in compliance with state law and to fulfill our obligation to District 207 taxpayers that we allocate our resources to educate students who are legitimately entitled to attend our school.”
Several area districts required parents to show a tax bill with a homestead exemption – which indicates the property is the owner’s primary residence. Documentation of property ownership within the district is not sufficient to enroll students in District 207 schools.
The letter further stated the district could charge families of any student found not to reside within District 207 boundaries $14,354 for annual tuition, and could remove students from schools.