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Decatur holds off on hiring employee to investigate enrollment


Decatur holds off on hiring employee to investigate enrollment

Superintendent David Dude
David Dude. Photo provided by City Schools of Decatur

David Dude. Photo provided by City Schools of Decatur

Shortly before David Dude took over as Superintendent of City Schools of Decatur, the School Board authorized the creation of an “enrollment assistant” to check the residency of children attending Decatur schools.

In the past, CSD has hired private investigators to sniff out fishy enrollments. The position would’ve had a salary of $30,000 to $40,000. At the time, the School Board agreed that the potential cost savings achieved by removing students who don’t live in the district would more than justify the expense of filling the position.

But Dude didn’t see it that way.

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He told Decaturish that he has decided against hiring a person to fill that position for the time being. He said staffing the position might be “a penny wise and a pound foolish.”

“Dr. (Phyllis) Edwards left that for me to fill but I decided not to fill it because I needed to see the need a little bit more before investing … in a position to do that,” Dude said, adding, “We’ve looked into how you can evaluate things and see if you can address the issues that way instead of adding a whole new position.”

Here is how CSD currently investigates residency issues, according to a School Board meeting agenda published in October:

The administrative assistants, in addition to their regular duities and the registrars at DHS an RMS, follow this procedure for residency investigation.

– Record residency concerns in Infinite Campus

– Discuss residency concerns with the Principal

– Scan and attach residency documentation to the PLP (this may include returned mail, letters, etc)

– Investigate to find parent or guardian names for other known addresses

– Escalate to the Central Office if it seems that enough evidence exists to require additional investigation

Central Office Level:

– Once the referral has been made to the central office, this process is followed:
Review documents provided to prove residency and verify authenticity and accuracy

– Check to see if leases are valid, or if deed and other documents are authentic

– If it appears necessary, request additional documents

– Check updated school zone maps and new annexations received from the city

– Contact the parent or guardian with the concern

– Contact an outside investigator to check addresses provided and residency at the address

– Review all information to determine where the student resides

– Send appropriate notice to the parent/guardian if determined to be out of the city