Dear PoP – Non Residents are Paying to go to DC Public Schools

Photo by PoPville flickr user rpmaxwell

“Dear PoP,

We live in Brookland, where Noyes Elementary is the assigned elementary school for our child. With the recent test cheating scandal, we are even more grateful than ever that our child was lucky enough to win an out-of-boundary spot at one of the few good DC elementary schools. Some of our neighbors have not been so lucky. Given the limited number of good elementary schools in the city and the limited number of out-of-bounds spots in each school, I find it very upsetting when I drop off or pick up my child from school to see numerous parents whose cars have Maryland license plates.

Some of these parents are likely sending their children to this school illegally, which I understand the district has policies in place to prevent. That is of course, annoying, but it is the parents who are in the wrong. But we were very surprised to learn that other parents are actually paying non-resident tuition for their children to attend the school.

According to the school district’s website, non-resident parents “may pay non-resident tuition to enroll in a DCPS school where space is available.” We don’t have a problem with that generally speaking. But it appears that the district is giving spaces to non-resident tuition payers even when there is a long waiting list of DC residents who applied via the out-of-boundary process to these schools. Shouldn’t these spots go to DC residents first, and then if (and only if) there are no remaining DC children who want to attend a particular school, be opened up to non-resident tuition payers?”

Holy cow. Did anyone else know this takes place? Does it make sense?

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