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updated: 9/28/2011 11:46 AM

Lombard District 44 conducting boundary checks

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Lombard Elementary District 44 set out on a boundary check of incoming kindergarten students' residency this summer and learned something new about where its boundaries lie.

One street containing four homes had been served by the district for years although it is not truly within the boundaries, Superintendent Jim Blanche said.

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Three or four children living on the street now are attending school in another district. They're among several students, although Blanche did not know an exact number, now being educated elsewhere as a result of the check conducted by Tinley Park-based National Investigations, Inc.

"Several families voluntarily left once they saw we were investigating," Blanche said.

Another family was ruled to be residing outside the district's borders last week at a special school board meeting.

A hearing officer reviewed documentation from National Investigations and determined "the children in question are not residents of our district," Blanche said. The school board sustained the hearing officer's decision and the family was told the children need to leave the district.

Eight or nine cases still are pending and Blanche said he expects more special meetings about residency.

Fear of having to pay for public school beyond tax contributions may have motivated some out-of-district families to move their students voluntarily, Blanche said.

"Most people know that you can run the risk of getting a tuition bill and that can be staggering," he said.

The district does not plan on doling out tuition bills to parents of out-of-district students because generating revenue is not the goal of the boundary enforcement, Blanche said.

Protecting taxpayers, who are footing the $11,422 bill for each student to attend District 44 for a year, is the aim of residency checks. The checks will continue and eventually will expand to include kindergarten through eighth-grade students.

"We're optimistic our community knows we're going to be checking this every year now ..." Blanche said, "to make sure we have the right children in our schools, which is important to everyone."

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