DeKALB – In response to a lawsuit claiming hundreds of students enrolled in DeKalb schools don't live in the district, the school board has approved residency checks on about 20 percent of its students.
Tom Lester, a partner with Rockford-based Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP, which represents the school board in the federal suit, said during Tuesday’s board meeting that his firm's retained expert will do the investigation. He added that national databases will be used to confirm residency, and no one will be knocking on doors to get such information.
Lawyer Michael Coghlan filed the suit against all seven board members on behalf of a DeKalb resident in October in the Northern Illinois District Court in Rockford. It claims the number of non-resident students in the district is costing taxpayers around $7.5 million a year.
“While the complaint alleges several different causes of actions and claims, the main thrust of the complaint is unsupported allegations that contend there are between 500 and 1500 non-resident students – that is, students who do not live in the district who are attending the district’s schools,” Lester said.
“Because this is involved in active and ongoing litigations, I am not really going to comment on it too far,” he added. “I’m not going to comment on the merits or lack thereof of any of the allegations contained in the compliant or any of the various defenses that are available to the district.”
Board members were advised not to comment during the investigation.
Superintendent Jamie Craven said there is no definitive timeline on how long the investigation and any subsequent searches will take.