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Local

DeKalb School District 428 Board to hear residency check update

Attorney representing district to provide 1st public update since March

DeKALB – Residency checks of DeKalb School District 428 students continue to be a hot-button issue in the city, and concerned residents can hear the latest update on these investigations during Tuesday’s District 428 board meeting.

Tom Lester, a partner with Rockford-based Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP, which represents the district board in a federal lawsuit, will provide the update.

The District 428 board approved residency checks in December in response to a lawsuit from an anonymous DeKalb taxpayer claiming about 1,000 students enrolled in the district don’t live in the district, which costs taxpayers about $7.5 million a year. Some residents have rebutted these potential savings, stating that the district could lose out on state and federal grant money that is allocated based on student population.

The lawsuit said “insiders,” who Coghlan said are district employees, estimate between 500 and 1,500 students are fraudulently enrolled. It also claims a District 428 administrator “coached” people from outside the district on how to get around school residency laws and rules after the Aug. 22 meeting.

In response to the claims, a handful of concerned residents organized two community meetings in April and May to review the lawsuit’s financial impact and the rights of residents.

The last public update given by the board was in March, when District 428 board President Victoria Newport said the investigation was in its third phase and would wrap up in two to three months. Newport also said once the investigation ends, it is the board’s intention to publicly disclose the statistical findings.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is a resolution authorizing the transfer of $3 million from the district’s transportation fund to its operations and maintenance fund because of a shortfall in the O&M fund. The planning of this transfer was already worked into the district’s fiscal 2018 budget. There is currently about $4.5 million in the transportation fund.

The district board meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the District 428 Education Center, 901 S. Fourth St.

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