• Town eyes school residency policy
    April 20,2013

    ST. JOHNSBURY — The St. Johnsbury School Board plans to tighten its residency policies as part of an effort to thwart tuition fraud by people who want to send their children to the private high school that educates children from the Vermont community that does not have its own high school.

    In asking the School Board this week to overhaul the requirements, Superintendent Ranny Bledsoe said officials have three students attending St. Johnsbury Academy whose residency is in question.

    “It’s one of the biggest headaches in the district,” Bledsoe said.

    She said the district needed to create procedures for determining residency.

    “I feel like we need some sort of a review process where we meet with the families,” Bledsoe said. “Instead of haggling on the phone, you come in for a half-hour meeting.”

    The Caledonian-Record reported school directors hope to have a new policy in place by June 1.

    The academy is a private prep school that has a number of international students from across the world. The town does not have its own high school and pays tuition to send local children to the academy.

    School officials generally learn of questionable residency claims via word of mouth, Bledsoe said.

    “Very often we just hear it,” she said. “Someone knows someone who knows someone.”

    Real estate professionals said people move to St. Johnsbury so their children can attend the academy.

    The current residency policy requires more than just living here, Bledsoe said. The policy includes voter and automobile registration and other indications the family is going to live permanently in the district.

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