New Castle News

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June 27, 2013

Board preparing to bill parents for tuition

NEW CASTLE —

The New Castle school district has not yet released parents’ names whose non-resident children attended city schools without paying.

But according to public discussions at the board’s policy committee meeting last week, the board intends to bill those parents for back tuition.

The New Castle News submitted a request on Tuesday for information for the names of those parents, who according to a recent audit finding are district employees.

Acting superintendent Stanley Magusiak said yesterday he intends to consult with the district solicitor to determine whether the district can legally make the names public.

He said it is unknown whether there will be any sanctions against those parents as employees, if the district finds the children’s enrollment was not legitimate.

“I don’t know how they’re going to follow through at this point,” Magusiak said of the board.

His last day as acting superintendent is Friday. The school board hired John Sarandrea as the district’s new superintendent on Tuesday, and tackling the tuition issue will be one of his first responsibilities. He takes office Monday.

 

THE FINDING

The state auditor general’s office, in an audit report released last month, determined that seven non-resident students attended prekindergarten, kindergarten and first grade in district schools spanning the years 2008-09 through 2011-12, but their parents did not pay tuition for them.

As a result, the district has to repay $110,664 to the state — money it received in state subsidy for those children.

The audit says the matter violates state school code and school board policy.

The audit covered the period from Feb. 2, 2010, through Sept. 2012, but was expanded to the other years to examine the enrollment noncompliance.

At different times during the cited school years, seven children of district employees were enrolled as resident students, even though a review of payroll records showed the employees lived outside district boundaries, the audit showed.

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