July 10, 2014THE GROSSE POINTES — Parents of students entering Grosse Pointe middle schools or high schools have one more item to check off their back-to-school list. School officials are reminding them to do it soon.
All students entering sixth or ninth grade must re-verify residency before they will be allowed to register for fall classes, and according to district officials, by the end of June, only about 20 percent of those required to re-verify have done so.
"We're a little concerned," said Chris Fenton, the district's deputy superintendent for business and operations. "Especially at the high school level, students won't be able to begin fall sports practices until the registration process is complete. We urge parents to do this before Aug. 1."
Fall sports practices officially begin Aug. 11.
Residency reverification was put in place by the school board in an attempt to discourage students who live outside the district from attending a Grosse Pointe public school. A district-wide registration was held several years ago, where every family in the district had to re-register.
Having students entering sixth or ninth grade re-register has been deemed a more cost-efficient measure.
Parents or guardians of incoming sixth and ninth graders are now required to appear at the board office, 389 St. Clair, City of Grosse Pointe with proof of residency. In order to register a student, the parent or guardian must show a driver's license or state ID showing an address within the school district and a car insurance form and any one of the following: a closing statement, a property tax bill, a mortgage payment book, a current signed lease or landlord affidavit. Also required are any two of the following bills with the parent or guardian's name: gas and electric bill, telephone or cellular bill, cable bill, water bill, car registration, homeowners or renters insurance statement or a credit card bill. A "current" bill is considered one issued within the past 30 days.
Questions may be directed to the residency/enrollment office, (313) 432-3083. The office is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. No appointment is necessary.
According to Fenton, arrangements can be made by calling the office if residents have a problem getting there during regular business hours.
"We want to make this as painless as possible," Fenton said.
While approximately 1,000 students need to be registered, a citizen's group called the Residence Committee doesn't believe it goes far enough.
"We don't believe the district is enforcing the residency requirements," said group member Diane Karabetsos of Grosse Pointe Woods. "You either reregister everybody, or you don't do anybody."
The residence committee believes that even when a student is shown to not live within the district, the school board does nothing to remedy the situation. She said her group has provided names to the district of students who do not live within the district, but nothing has been done.
Her committee would like any residency issues to be outsourced and not handled by the district.
"We need to enforce the laws we have," she said. "We have a closed district. We have students cheating the system, and that's not right."
According to Fenton, all incidents of suspected non-residency are investigated by the district.