- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
La Plata High School is next on the list for an enrollment audit, following an audit at North Point High School that has uncovered 35 fraudulent students so far.
The most recent enrollment figures for La Plata indicate that the school has 1,464 students, which is about 300 more than the school was designed to handle.
According to a letter sent to La Plata parents, the plan to confirm students’ residency status includes but is not limited to: a 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 public information regarding home ownership.
The review will begin immediately.
“We just need to be sure, in fairness, that students legally zoned [for La Plata High School] are not being negatively impacted by students that are here illegally,” Principal Evelyn Arnold said.
A similar process began last month at North Point High School. The Waldorf high school was built with a state-rated capacity of 1,600 students, but has more than 600 too many students.
According to information provided by the school system, while the investigation is continuing, 35 students at North Point have been found to be enrolled or attempting to enroll under false information.
School spokeswoman Katie O’Malley-Simpson said parents of fraudulent students were given until Sept. 19 to withdraw their students with no questions asked. By that deadline, two students withdrew voluntarily.
Through the investigation, seven students were stopped from enrolling and 26 students were asked to leave.
O’Malley-Simpson said 17 of the students who were withdrawn were from outside of Charles County, the remainder sent back to their zoned schools.
As a result of the audit, seven siblings of students who were attending North Point withdrew from the Charles County schools they were attending, O’Malley-Simpson said.
The letter announcing the audit for La Plata High School went out Tuesday.
According to the letter, parents or guardians might be asked about residency status or to produce additional residency documentation “that any legitimate home owner/renter should easily be able to provide.”
Examples of these documents include a deed, lease or rental agreement; a utility bill with complete name and address listed; a cellphone bill with name and address listed; car registration; court documents; or a certified letter with a settlement date.
Additional examples can be found on the school system’s website at www.ccboe.com.
La Plata parents or guardians have until Oct. 12 to withdraw students attending the school under false information with no questions asked.
According to the letter, “Families who are found to be enrolled using false information are subject to immediate withdrawal of their children. In some cases, families will be charged tuition by Charles County Public Schools.”
Tuition for students living outside of Maryland is $11,200 per year. Those living in Maryland but outside of the county pay $6,980 per year.
Superintendent James E. Richmond said at a recent school board meeting that the system is monitoring enrollment at each school.