Published Friday, January 04, 2013

Schools working with parents to complete residency affidavits

By REBECCA LEFTWICH

rebecca@newnan.com

Approximately one percent of students in the Coweta County School System failed to file a 2012-13 Affidavit of Residence by the Dec. 20 deadline, and schools are working with parents and guardians to bring those students into compliance.

The affidavits are a requirement of a Consent Decree entered in federal court between the Coweta County School System and the United States Justice Department. The Consent Decree provides an opportunity to resolve the 1973 court order which governs the desegregation of Coweta County Schools.

“We are required by federal government to collect residency information every year,” said Dean Jackson, public information officer for Coweta schools. “While it certainly can be something that is a bother to get together, it’s something that we have to require parents to do.”

Failing to file an affidavit can result in the disenrollment of a student from school.

“It is a condition of enrollment to submit this information,” Jackson said.

Jackson said a few instances have occurred in which that step was necessary, but that students typically return to school as soon as the proper paperwork is filed – unless the student is found to live out of district.

More often, it’s life circumstances – medical issues or hospitalization, difficulty completing the two-party affidavit required when a parent or guardian does not own or rent the residence in which a student lives, or reluctance of the “very tiny number” of people living out of district to submit proof of residency – that prevent timely return of affidavits.

Even then, “The ones who have trouble getting them in for one reason or another usually get them in within the first few days of the new year,” Jackson said. “The vast majority had them in before the Christmas holidays.”

As long as the federal court order stands, Affidavits of Residence are required to be filed for all students enrolled in the Coweta County School System during each school year. According to Jackson, forms are sent to parents of all students early in the school year and are available online at www.cowetaschools.org .

Notaries Public are on site at each school for the convenience of parents and guardians as they complete the affidavit requirement. Students enrolling in the Coweta County School System for the first time in 2012-13 met the affidavit requirement with their initial enrollment documents.

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