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Thursday, February 28, 2008

2 families lose bids to keep kids in Milford schools

By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— Two West Haven families will have to remove their children from the school system after losing their appeals of a Board of Education decision to oust the students.
The decision saves the school system at least $50,000, and the school board will now seek restitution from the families for the services they have received illegally, said school board attorney Floyd Dugas.
Dugas said an independent hearing officer ruled last week in favor of the school system that two West Haven couples were illegally sending their children to city schools. Altogether, there were five children involved, and the per pupil cost is $10,400.
Both families have about 15 days left to file an appeal with the state Department of Education. If an appeal is filed, the children are allowed to remain in Milford schools until the appeal is heard.
Dugas said federal and state laws prohibit him from identifying the two couples, though police last month arrested Henry Jean-Louis, 30, and Erlyne Jean-Louis, 31, both of 63 Antrim St. in West Haven for having sent their three children to city schools under false pretense. The couple was charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy.
Dugas declined to confirm that one of the residency cases involved the Jean-Louis’, but sources said they were one of the families. A police spokesman said Tuesday he would have to look into whether charges will be filed against the second family.
School officials sent a letter to both families informing them of their belief that their children were not supposed to be in the school system, and then both families exercised their right to hold a hearing. Dugas said the school board decided to bring in an independent hearing officer to hear both cases in an effort to ensure complete objectivity. The school system paid under $1,000 for the hearing officer’s time.
“It’s obviously important for a school district to keep its costs down so taxpayers do not shoulder the burden for paying for another community’s children to be educated,” Dugas said.
Dugas said one child attended Harborside Middle School, two were at Orange Avenue elementary School and two received an education at Jonathan Law High.
“We will continue to be vigilant in our assessment of residency issues,” said Superintendent of Schools Harvey B. Polansky. “The board has made this one of its top policy issues. I’m representing the board on this.”
Dugas said people use several different measures to try and illegally enroll their children in a school system.
“You’d be amazed at how creative people can be,” Dugas said. “People will use a business address or (that of) a relative’s.”


Anonymous Mark L Milford Parent said...

Hat's off to the Milford BOE and staff for sticking to their guns on he fleecing of Milford taxpayers by those who do not live here. This is just downright stealing and it has to stop. There are still more people in our school system still in hiding and hoping they do not get caught. All I can say is, good luck, as they will root you out and seek restitution. What a gamble and just poor parental decision making skills, as they are hurting their own children by this action. Also, what message are they sending their kids . . . if you can have it, steal it? Just sad. If yoy want a MIlford education . . . move here and pay the taxes just like the rest of us. The End!

March 2, 2008 at 9:57 AM 

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