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LIBERTY Beefing up school residency enforcement



Published: Wed, September 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



If you don't live here, you don't belong here, the superintendent says.

By PETER H. MILLIKEN

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

LIBERTY -- The board of education has authorized Superintendent Lawrence C. Prince to hire a second police officer to verify pupil residence within the school district.

The second officer would be an off-duty Liberty police officer, who would work on an as-needed basis for the rest of this school year at $14.05 per hour.

Robert Riecke, a Champion police officer, has been doing this work for the board for the past six or seven years and normally works 20 hours a week for the district, Prince said. Because the second officer will come from the Liberty department, the school district may benefit from that officer's more detailed knowledge of the local community, he added.

"This is to provide additional help in case there's an increase in need," or Riecke's hours of availability change, Prince explained after Tuesday's school board meeting.

The school district's policy is that only pupils living in its district may enroll in its schools. Liberty does not have any open-enrollment arrangements with other school districts, Prince said.

"This has been an ongoing concern. If we're not the district of residency, then they don't belong here," Prince said. "It's a matter of us following through to make sure that the students who are attending here and getting the benefit of our education are actually residents of the district," he said.

Sent to proper district

Pupils found not to live in the district are excluded from its schools, and sent to the proper school district, he said.

He said that he couldn't provide figures for the number of pupils each year found not to reside in the district but that it is in the dozens. The district enrolls an average of 1,800 pupils in kindergarten through 12th grade. Proof of parents' residency in the district can take a variety of forms, including a driver's license or bank statement, he said.

Prince also announced to the board that Police Chief Anthony Slifka told him a federal grant had been approved for the district's first school resource officer, who will divide his or her time among the district's schools and work with pupils on school and community matters and drug abuse prevention education.

The board granted a one-year limited teaching contract to Lyndsey Yankle at $25,345 for this school year.

She will divide her time between teaching third-grade language arts at E.J. Blott Elementary School and eighth-grade math at W.S. Guy Middle School.




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