2012-07-17 / Front Page

Jamesburg hires officer to investigate enrollment

Students in three grades must verify residency
Staff Writer

JAMESBURG — The Board of Education has appointed a registration officer to investigate student residency for the school district.

The board had been mulling over the appointment of an investigator since December, citing ongoing concerns about the district potentially paying for the education of students who do not live in the borough. Officials discovered three student enrollment discrepancies that same month.

Charles Gerndt was appointed to the registration officer position, which will pay an hourly rate of $25, not to exceed $5,000. His appointment took effect in May and continues through August 2013.

Board members have said that savings from discovering and correcting enrollment discrepancies would recover most, if not all costs for the investigator.

At its June 28 meeting, the board approved amendments to the district’s policy on eligibility of resident pupils. Under the revised policy, every student in kindergarten, second and sixth grades must verify their residency in the bor- ough. Sixth grade was identified as a priority at previous meetings, in order to avoid unnecessary future tuition costs for sending ineligible students to Monroe Township High School. Kindergarten was also identified as a logical choice, given its larger-than-expected enrollment.

Gerndt is authorized to investigate residency on an individual basis, should the need arise.

At previous board meetings, the school district’s then-business administrator, Thomas Reynolds, said parents or guardians are required to provide a copy of a lease or rental agreement proving that they reside in the borough. If the student lives with a relative, that person must supply a domicile agreement. In both cases, parents, guardians or other relatives are required to provide a utility, phone or cable bill verifying that they reside in Jamesburg.

Despite the district’s policies and regulations, Reynolds admitted that controlling enrollment is a challenge.

According to former board attorney Jennifer Paganucci, the district would still be responsible for the education of a child who is subject to an investigation. The family would be entitled to subsequent hearings and appeals.

The board also explored other options, including a private investigation firm that would have charged the district a $50 hourly rate.

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