Charles Co. School System Launches Attendance Audit

Audit seeks to identify students who are attending the wrong school, or do not live in Charles Co.

LA PLATA, Md.—Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is launching a series of attendance audits at schools, continuing a review process that started last year at North Point and La Plata high schools. The school system is conducting audits, according to Superintendent Kimberly Hill, to ensure students enrolled at a particular school live in Charles County and in their school’s attendance zone. While the school system routinely investigates questionable attendance issues, the enrollment audits are formal and concentrated.

North Point, the county’s largest and most overcrowded high school, plans to continue student enrollment audits this year. Westlake High School, Mattawoman Middle School, Theodore G. Davis Middle School, William A. Diggs Elementary School and Berry Elementary School are also conducting residency audits this school year.

Audits are concentrated this year at high growth schools near Berry Road as well as schools recently affected by redistricting. “One of the things we heard at the redistricting hearing is that people feel their children were redistricted because out-of-zone or out-of-county children were enrolled at their school. Audits are one of many ways the school system confirms that students in our schools are Charles County residents and that they are attending the proper school,” Hill said.

Last year, the audit led to 52 North Point students either withdrawing or having their enrollment process halted. Of those who withdrew, 23 were Charles County residents; 20 were out-of-county residents; seven did not enroll; and two others entered alternative programs. Additionally, at least 15 siblings of these students were withdrawn from other county schools. During the La Plata audit, nine students were withdrawn. Five were Charles County residents, one was out-of-county and three were out-of-state residents. Additionally, two siblings of these students were withdrawn from Charles County schools.

The formal audits supplement daily efforts by schools and the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) student services department to monitor enrollment and to ensure children are enrolled at the schools they are zoned to attend.

A letter from Hill is going home to parents alerting them to the audit and asking for cooperation.

The school system’s audit to confirm students’ residency status includes, but is not limited to:

-- A complete review of all residency documents, including lease agreements and statements of residency;

-- Unscheduled home visits to confirm the accuracy of residency documents; and

-- A review of publicly available information regarding property ownership.

Students found to be attending the wrong school will be sent to their zoned school or removed from the school system if they are not a resident. Nonresidents will be charged tuition, retroactively, for the time they attended school here. County students attending a school under false information will be ineligible to participate in athletics. “Families providing inaccurate residency information not only overcrowd our schools, but they also put our athletic programs at risk. If we find an out-of-zone student playing on one of our teams, the entire team suffers the consequence for this ineligible player through forfeited games,” Hill said in a letter to parents.

Hill asks anyone with knowledge of a family that is attending school who does not reside in the school’s attendance zone to contact the school or anonymously call the school system’s fraud hotline at 301-302-8305.

Source: Charles County Public Schools

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