Another school debate: Woman convicted of felony over residency

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Another school debate: Woman convicted of felony over residency

http://www.ohio.com/news/113828954.html

To summarize: An Ohio woman used her father's address to enroll her children in school. The district hired a private investigator who videotaped the woman driving for her home in Akron to the bus stop near her father's house. At the time, they were living in subsidized housing provided the local Housing Authority. She also submitted free and reduced lunch forms.

She used her father's address from 2006 - 2008. Her attorney submitted W-2s from her employer from 2008 and 2009, and a letter from 2005 from the school, that were all sent to her father's address.

She face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for this.

What do you think? Is the penalty a bit harsh? Should the district have gone to the trouble to get felony charges brought against her?

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So they are willing to take her away from her children and send her to jail because she falsified an address so that her children could go to a certain school? That seems really strict to me. I don't see how that is "so bad" that they would send her to jail for. Kick the kid out of that school and give her a fine, but jail is ridiculous. There are far too many other people that have harsher crimes committed that should be in jail, not a Mother trying to get in kid in a good school.

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She committed fraud to get out of paying about $30,000 for tuition for her kids. I feel bad for the kids being separated from their mom. She of all people should have known better being a teaching assistant.

I think making her pay back the money for the tuition, costs of prosecuting her and the costs of the school's investigation, and maybe a fine on behalf of the school would be appropriate. I don't think the 10K fine quite cuts it, but I think jail time isn't the way to go.

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She committed a clear felony. Even if it was for the best reason possible, it is still obviously and highly illegal to falsify any of that information or any of those forms, so yes, she should be convicted as such.

Now, this is where a judge and jury is necessary. The crime is clear, the severity of the sentencing can be varied a great deal in most states, even for felonious conduct. I'd support her conviction as a felon with a softball sentence, if this istruly just the extent of her crimes. But what she did was NOT right. I am all for school choice and an ouspoken supporter of vouchers, so kids can compete for slots at the best schools and failing ones face financial pressure to improve their standards... But even being an advocate for school choice, I don't support breaking the law to get it.

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This is how they determine tuition for students not zoned for the district:

(B) Tuition computed in accordance with this section shall equal the attendance district’s tuition rate computed under section 3317.08 of the Revised Code plus the amount that district would have received for the child pursuant to Chapter 3306. and sections 3317.023 and 3317.025 to 3317.0211 of the Revised Code during the school year had the attendance district been authorized to count the child in its formula ADM for that school year under section 3317.03 of the Revised Code.

It looks like the home district has to transfer the money they would have received AND the parent has to pay the average daily amount per child. About $7500 per child per year.

The district doesn't have open enrollment but they do have exceptions.

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"SaucyVidel" wrote:

She committed a clear felony. Even if it was for the best reason possible, it is still obviously and highly illegal to falsify any of that information or any of those forms, so yes, she should be convicted as such.

Now, this is where a judge and jury is necessary. The crime is clear, the severity of the sentencing can be varied a great deal in most states, even for felonious conduct. I'd support her conviction as a felon with a softball sentence, if this istruly just the extent of her crimes. But what she did was NOT right. I am all for school choice and an ouspoken supporter of vouchers, so kids can compete for slots at the best schools and failing ones face financial pressure to improve their standards... But even being an advocate for school choice, I don't support breaking the law to get it.

I agree with Taryl!

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She committed a crime where there was a law on the books along with the penalties. Shouldn't someone have to pay for their crime or is that a case by case basis?

Hopefully she will be an example to any other parent's that break the law.

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"SaucyVidel" wrote:

She committed a clear felony. Even if it was for the best reason possible, it is still obviously and highly illegal to falsify any of that information or any of those forms, so yes, she should be convicted as such.

Now, this is where a judge and jury is necessary. The crime is clear, the severity of the sentencing can be varied a great deal in most states, even for felonious conduct. I'd support her conviction as a felon with a softball sentence, if this istruly just the extent of her crimes. But what she did was NOT right.

ITA with this. I think she should have to pay reparations in addition to the fine, but no jail time. San Francisco public schools recently did the same thing, about 200 kids whose parents lied about their residency were immediately kicked out of school & their parents were sent a bill for the investigation. The district then offered amnesty to anyone they missed, kids could finish the semester with no penalty & no fine, but criminal charges would be pressed if the district catches you later. I think that's the right thing, our district is strapped for money right now, why should we have to educate kids from other districts when we don't get the money?
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/01/MNJN1G42U3.DTL

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Her sentencing may be much lower than what the standard is as cited. That's the same penalty for welfare fraud (theft), but most of the time, serve much less in time and fines. It's interesting that she thought she could get public housing in one district and yet falsify documents for the tuition and free lunch program. I wonder what prompted them to investigate her.

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I agree that she should have to pay the accumulated tuition balance and reparation, maybe costs associated with the investigation. Jail time seems a little much, however, this is SUCH a common problem and I think examples need to start being made to discourage the practice.

It's stealing, IMO. Stealing from the school district. It's not as simple as just wanting your kid to go to a "good school". If it's that important to a parent, they should move to the desired district or pay the tuition.

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Do y'all also think the money from her home district should be paid to the district where the children attended?

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Do y'all also think the money from her home district should be paid to the district where the children attended?

No, she should be the only one punished. She should pay all the money back.

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"Gina" wrote:

No, she should be the only one punished. She should pay all the money back.

Agreed.

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http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/07/ohio-mom-who-lied-to-get-kids-into-neighboring-school-district-gets-reprieve/?hpt=hp_t2

This woman just doesn't stop. I would lose my mind if she ended up being my kid's teacher. She has absolutely no chance of getting hired by anyone with any common sense. She obviously has no regards for telling the truth. She doesn't even have the freaking GPA she needs to get into the school of education!!!!!! The whole reason he reduced the charges against her was so she could be a teacher. Ridiculous shananigans.

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"Gina" wrote:

No, she should be the only one punished. She should pay all the money back.

I also agree with this.

I also think she broke the law so should be made to pay. In Ohio your property taxes pay for your schools in your district. She not only defrauded the school district but every tax payer in that district as well. I think the punishment should fit the crime and I'm glad she won't be taken from her children but I think Kasich didn't do the rest of the honest tax-payers in Ohio any service by reducing her conviction to misdemeanors.

I think someone asked what prompted the school to investigate. I would like to know that too.

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Didn't her father pay taxes that contributed to the cost of the schooling of the child?

It seems that what she is guilty of is lying and no I don't think it should be a felony. Also, I feel for someone trying to put their child into a better school to give them a better education.

I don't think it mentions the quality of the school the child was supposed to attend, but lets say it is an unsafe area and not a great school. If it was me I would do WHATEVER I could to not allow my child to be in that enviroment.

Since she was in section 8 housing (can't remember if that was correct), I'm not sure the type of taxes they pay to the districts. For arguments sake lets say she paid normal taxes that contributed to her local school, but didn't send her child there. Then her father paid for the taxes that contributed to the school that she did send her child. Where is the money she owes? All in all the state got a swap in dollars.

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My word! This quote is compelling to me:

"Williams-Bolar wrote in her application for clemency that the felony convictions would prevent her from obtaining a license in teaching or social work, which she has been working toward on and off since 1988."

Really?! Since 1988?!?!? That's more than 20 years! She's not trying to get a license in teaching or social work. If she were really trying, she would have been done. I can't believe the governor used that as his reasoning!

As far as why the school suspected, I don't know the true answer, but I can say that it's sometimes pretty obvious who doesn't "belong." Little kids always slip. We've had students say an aside about driving to Grandma's in the morning or that they missed the bus because traffic was bad or something like that.

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"elleon17" wrote:

Didn't her father pay taxes that contributed to the cost of the schooling of the child?

It seems that what she is guilty of is lying and no I don't think it should be a felony. Also, I feel for someone trying to put their child into a better school to give them a better education.

I don't think it mentions the quality of the school the child was supposed to attend, but lets say it is an unsafe area and not a great school. If it was me I would do WHATEVER I could to not allow my child to be in that enviroment.

Since she was in section 8 housing (can't remember if that was correct), I'm not sure the type of taxes they pay to the districts. For arguments sake lets say she paid normal taxes that contributed to her local school, but didn't send her child there. Then her father paid for the taxes that contributed to the school that she did send her child. Where is the money she owes? All in all the state got a swap in dollars.

She didn't do it for a better education. The article says that the lawyers never used that as a selling point. It was because she didn't want to leave her child alone, due to a burglary.

If she was getting public housing assistance and really didn't want her kid(s) to be alone, why didn't she just move in with her dad? Maybe it's not ideal, but it would have accomplished the same purpose.

Would you really do "whatever it takes?" I mean, there are so many options - child care, swap babysitting/playdate services, move in with dad, apply for special permission, join an after-school program.

Unfortunately, the money swap thing doesn't quite work that way. Each school is allotted a certain amount of money per student that is expected to be in the school. Any students who attend by special permission (like teachers' kids), are attending at the cost of the other students. There's no extra money coming in for those kids. So, the school her child was attending received no extra funding for her child. Meanwhile, the school where she was supposed to be attending received extra money. And, that's just within one school system. She's attending in an entirely different county, I believe. Around here, the cost to attend school in a different county/system is HUGE!

I think their big issue with her is the continued pattern of deceit. She used her dad's address to renew her driver's license just before her clemency hearing. That's AFTER she was convicted! If her driver's license has that address, she has a lot more options, which I'm sure she knows...

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"b525" wrote:

She didn't do it for a better education. The article says that the lawyers never used that as a selling point. It was because she didn't want to leave her child alone, due to a burglary.

If she was getting public housing assistance and really didn't want her kid(s) to be alone, why didn't she just move in with her dad? Maybe it's not ideal, but it would have accomplished the same purpose.

Would you really do "whatever it takes?" I mean, there are so many options - child care, swap babysitting/playdate services, move in with dad, apply for special permission, join an after-school program.

Unfortunately, the money swap thing doesn't quite work that way. Each school is allotted a certain amount of money per student that is expected to be in the school. Any students who attend by special permission (like teachers' kids), are attending at the cost of the other students. There's no extra money coming in for those kids. So, the school her child was attending received no extra funding for her child. Meanwhile, the school where she was supposed to be attending received extra money. And, that's just within one school system. She's attending in an entirely different county, I believe. Around here, the cost to attend school in a different county/system is HUGE!

I think their big issue with her is the continued pattern of deceit. She used her dad's address to renew her driver's license just before her clemency hearing. That's AFTER she was convicted! If her driver's license has that address, she has a lot more options, which I'm sure she knows...

I see what you are saying and yes if it was me I would have moved in with my father. But lets say she did, then the school district would have had no difference in money and the child still would have attended (and the other school district would have a deficit). Where is the accounting difference?

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I have to admit to being a little surprised at the strong reactions. While I do not feel that it is best to not lie about where you live I know that it happens all of the time. While I do think she should move into that area if they want to go to school there, I do not think she should go to jail for trying to do what she felt was best for her child.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I have to admit to being a little surprised at the strong reactions. While I do not feel that it is best to not lie about where you live I know that it happens all of the time. While I do think she should move into that area if they want to go to school there, I do not think she should go to jail for trying to do what she felt was best for her child.

Reminds me of any and every illegal immigration debate. Same argument applies.

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This scenario just focuses our attention on the great funding disparities between schools and school systems. Many people do want their kids to go to a better school-- and the funding model we use (local tax base) only amplifies the troubles of some communities. No money from tax base= no money for schooling = crummy schools= cycle of poverty and poor educational experiences.

If we're so worried about saving some money--then we certainly shouldn't send a non-violent first time offender to jail....hello expensive.

Are we the only district where they have a census week? We get notes from our school telling us that it will be "census week" and that we really really need to send our kids to school that week bc it is how they determine how many pupils the school has. Is that unique?

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"boilermaker" wrote:

This scenario just focuses our attention on the great funding disparities between schools and school systems. Many people do want their kids to go to a better school-- and the funding model we use (local tax base) only amplifies the troubles of some communities. No money from tax base= no money for schooling = crummy schools= cycle of poverty and poor educational experiences.

If we're so worried about saving some money--then we certainly shouldn't send a non-violent first time offender to jail....hello expensive.

Are we the only district where they have a census week? We get notes from our school telling us that it will be "census week" and that we really really need to send our kids to school that week bc it is how they determine how many pupils the school has. Is that unique?

That's certainly not done here. I don't get why they do that at all. In our state, we get to choose which school our child goes to regardless of the district as long as we're state residence. The schools here submit to the state all attendance records and they're paid accordingly. It's not limited to a specific week.

I wonder if she also appealed to the governor because with a felony theft conviction, she also would've lost her subsidized housing. Maybe she really is now living with her father as she stated in another article back in January that she lived with him part time, whatever that may mean.

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Nope. She still lives in subsidized housing. If you read from page 10 to page 13, I think most of you will be shaking your head by the time you get to the bottom. This woman is either really stupid or a liar or both. I'm not happy about the illegal immigrant situation, but you can't paint the entire group with the same brush as this bottomfeeder.

http://www.drc.ohio.gov/Public/WilliamsBolarKellyClemency.pdf

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"Beertje" wrote:

That's certainly not done here. I don't get why they do that at all. In our state, we get to choose which school our child goes to regardless of the district as long as we're state residence. The schools here submit to the state all attendance records and they're paid accordingly. It's not limited to a specific week.

What state do you live in? Our state is by district, and it is very strict. You can't just up and choose what public school you want your child to attend. My house in a different district could vary by as much as $200,000 more or less, solely based on district, some just a few miles apart, the disparities are so great. People want into those districts and are willing to pay for it. The price people pay to get that great schooling contributes to even more property taxes, which makes the schools even better. The disparities can be vast, around here.

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"Potter75" wrote:

What state do you live in? Our state is by district, and it is very strict. You can't just up and choose what public school you want your child to attend. My house in a different district could vary by as much as $200,000 more or less, solely based on district, some just a few miles apart, the disparities are so great. People want into those districts and are willing to pay for it. The price people pay to get that great schooling contributes to even more property taxes, which makes the schools even better. The disparities can be vast, around here.

Same. Our municipal property taxes go to support the school boards - either public or separate (separate schools are typically catholic). You financially support the public school system? Your children are eligible to attend public school. Not only that, each community in each municipal 'zone' has a designated school for each age group of children and your child is guaranteed a space in that school. If you want your child to go to a school just a few blocks further away but out of your designated area you have to go on a waitlist, pay for bussing outside your child's school area (hundreds of dollars a year). I have friends who have moved to different zones solely because the schools in that community are better than the one(s) in their former communities. Around here you don't get to pick and choose unless you're willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars annually for tuition for private school.

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I live in MN. We can even choose which college within the state the students can take PSEO classes at while they're a high school student and the high school they're technically enrolled in is responsible for the college tuition (not living expenses if they live on campus, just books and tuition.) Property taxes are still assessed by the local district they live in, but we are not restricted to force our children to go to that specific district our house resides in. We even have some districts busing kids in from other districts.

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I have lived in both TN and NY and live close to GA. In all three places you can only go to the public school that you are zoned for unless you home school, go to private school, pay tuition, or a special situation (Like your parent works at a different school). Also, my nieces and nephews in Western NY go to a private school and my daughter went to a private school last year in GA. Both schools were about $3,000 a year per child. Not tens of thousands. Only elite IV league schools are that much.

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"Beertje" wrote:

That's certainly not done here. I don't get why they do that at all. In our state, we get to choose which school our child goes to regardless of the district as long as we're state residence. The schools here submit to the state all attendance records and they're paid accordingly. It's not limited to a specific week.

I wonder if she also appealed to the governor because with a felony theft conviction, she also would've lost her subsidized housing. Maybe she really is now living with her father as she stated in another article back in January that she lived with him part time, whatever that may mean.

I'm guessing it is done there but is called something different. Part of NCLB is that you have to publish certain data like enrollment, teacher to student ratio, percentage of kids in various categories, etc. There's no way to do this without some sort of "census" day.

Another part of NCLB is open enrollment. You can apply to other districts/schools via the proper forms, but this district in OH had no room.

I'm not all that familiar with Section 8, but I was under the impression that you need to have children in order to qualify. Thus, she is either lying on the school forms by saying the children live with her father or she is lying on the Section 8 forms saying they live with her. One way or another, she is falsifying legal documents.

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If this were a regular public school and she used her dad's address to get her kids into a better school because he lived in a better neighborhood (which happens all the time) I would say the fines are extreme (although it still shouldn't go unpunished because it is against the law to falsify these documents), but the fact that she was sending her kids to a tuition based school and not having to pay anything due to her falsifying these documents I can understand the severity of the charges. If it's against the law, it's against the law... and she should pay the concequences.