New residency requirement for DeSoto students

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

HERENANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - Officials at DeSoto County Schools say children enrolling for the first time in county schools - or just moving from one school or another - need proof that they live in the county.

Jim Caldwell, security coordinator for the DeSoto County School District, says the district trying to deny anyone an education, but out-of-district students cost taxpayers money that could be spent on DeSoto County students.

Assistant Superintendent Charlie Alexander said the system has set forth mandatory registration requirements that must be followed in order to register..

"What they're gonna need is the lease or deed on the property they have, a utility receipt, driver's licence and a car tag," he said.

Alexander said much of this is because of to the tremendous growth the district has experienced over the past several years.  This school year won't be any different.

"We're growing a good bit each year," he said. "We'll grow about a thousand students this year, so it does make a little bit of a difference."

And some people will try to enroll students who are not eligible to attend.

"Basically, a new crop of people every year that are going to try and beat the system," Caldwell said. "We have a good system in place where they have to prove residency."

The school district's residency coordinator, Hank Babin, says illegal students cost the district upward of $3 million in 2003-04. He was hired the following year to begin tracking numbers and help cracking down on illegal students.

To Caldwell, it's about being fair to all students.

"We're not out to try to keep anyone from getting an education, but we want to make sure all our students are our students and not someone else's."

Proofs of residency include a lease or mortgage at the child's address, a utility bill for that address, or a car registration receipt and state driver's license.

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