Lombard District 44 is cracking down on families attending its schools but living outside of district by hiring a private investigation firm to confirm the residency of all incoming kindergartners. This decision was made after several district principals voiced their concerns to superintendent Jim Blanche, that students in their schools lived outside of district boundaries.
“We don’t have the resources, and I don’t expect my principals to be private eyes, so we have not done a good job in making sure people are being truthful about where they live,” Blanche said.
As a result, the district has hired Tinley Park-based National Investigations, Inc. to confirm the residency of all of the incoming kindergartners — about 300 children. The firm is confirming residency by using databases, knocking on doors and, when necessary, conducting surveillance, according to a description of the residency investigation services listed on its website.
Already, the investigation has turned up about 12 incoming kindergartners who are not living within district, Blanche said, and about two-thirds of these children have older siblings in the district. The students found to be living outside of the district boundaries will be un-enrolled from their schools.
The district has plans to continue residency confirmation into the future, and each year another grade level will be checked. Next year all kindergartners and all first graders will be checked, the following year, second graders will also be checked, and Blanche expects the process to get more simple as more grade levels are checked.
“There are getting to be finite resources in the state and we want to make sure we’re stretching our tax dollars as far as we can,” Blanche said.