$105K bill sent to parents after 3 students, who weren’t from Chicago, wrongly attended CPS schools

Top officials with Chicago Public Schools say three students who live outside the city wrongly attended CPS schools — and the district is now planning to bill their parents more than $100,000 in tuition.

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CSP CEO Pedro Martinez wrote in a memo to the Board of Education Monday that investigators identified three students whose families did not reside in the city during their enrollment at Chicago schools from 2012-13 to 2018-19.

Martinez is requesting the board take action against the families at its monthly meeting Wednesday.

That includes billing the parents $105,186 in non-resident tuition, kicking the students out of their current schools and permanently barring two of them from ever attending any selective enrollment schools or programs

Martinez did not name the students, identify which schools they attended, where they actually lived or whether they were from the same family or different families.

While children between the ages of 5 and 21 who are living in Chicago are eligible to attend CPS schools for free, all guardians must provide proof of current residence at the time of enrollment, unless the student does not have a permanent address. In the 2019–20 school year, the non-resident tuition rate was $13,936 per year.

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Suburban parents in the past have been caught for sending their kids to highly sought-after selective enrollment schools in the city using false addresses or addresses of relatives. Other parents were cited for claiming addresses in parts of the city where they had a better chance of getting accepted at the schools.

After CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler in 2015 warned of the growing fraud problem, and the ease in which families could get around the system, CPS added stricter policies and financial penalties and banned students in violation from ever attending any selective enrollment school in the future.

Cheyanne M. Daniels is a staff reporter for the Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South Side and West Side.

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