Friday, May 28, 2010

Another round of letters and address fraud

Another round of letters should be coming out. Feel free to share your news.

Note: The majority of comments in this post are related to address fraud and this news report that ran on ABC about the district kicking out 80 kids due to address fraud: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/education&id=7466661

130 comments:

  1. Please see:

    SFUSD kicks out 80 kids due to address fraud:

    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/education&id=7466661

    Those are only the kids who have been reported through an anonymous tip line.

    Anyone who still does not have a school slot at this point should demand that the SFUSD board:

    1. Halt the running of the lottery algorithm.

    2. Conduct a complete audit of the home addresses of all students in classes with waitlisted school slots.

    3. The opened slots should be given to parents who applied on time in January 2010 and are 0/7 or 0/14. The slots should be given on a random basis (not lottery). There should be no opportunity for late applying parents to take these slots from parents who have been cheated out of a school slot because of a lack of oversite by the SFUSD.

    4. Parents who were 0/14 last year, who applied on time, should also be given a priority opportunity to waitlist.

    This is unacceptable and speaks to the fact that the SFUSD condones outright fraud against San Francisco taxpayers.

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  2. "demand"
    who made you king?

    I would rather have my tax money educate children rather than pay for an audit

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  3. "I would rather have my tax money educate children rather than pay for an audit"

    I'm sure the parents who still don't have a school assignment for the fall for their child are not feeling quite as congenial as you.

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  4. Seems a bit over-excited to say "SFUSD condones outright fraud" when they have taken steps to set up a tipline and also seem to be acting on the tips. They have also pledged at least to remove assignments from families that commit fraud in the new neighborhood system, e.g., claiming a CTIP1 address.

    The question is resources. The budget is in bad shape. Everyone says they should be cutting from central administration. Who is supposed to conduct this audit then? I would guess the tipline and the deterrence of threat of removal is intended to accomplish a lot without spending a lot of money. An audit would likely cost *at least* one classroom teacher. I can see how families that didn't get one of their picks would feel bad to think that someone else's child might have slipped through from Daly City, but if I were making the decision, set apart from the understandable emotion of all that, I think I would weigh in favor of the classroom teacher and benefiting a larger number of kids.

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  5. 80 kids for K-12 (30 from Lowell), average 6 per grade.

    Let's say that they find another 6 in the audit for K, but have to cut one class (lose 22 spots). You tell me whether that is a good deal.

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  6. I thought the new waitpool list was supposed to be posted today? Where is it???!!

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  7. "Parents face charges due to student enrollment fraud"

    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/education&id=7468257

    "The reality is the district doesn't have the resources to investigate all 55,000 students, so this year's 80 cases could represent only a fraction of how many there really are."

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  8. What happens to Lowell seniors who are kicked out this week? Do they still get their HS degrees?

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  9. 9:36 - i hear you. "demand" = obnoxious.

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  10. 12:19, the kids are being kicked out at the end of the school year. They will go to other schools and get their diplomas, if they are not graduating this year. Duh.

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  11. They said the 80 families will get fined from $1k to $2.5k, or they (may) press charges. If we assume a 75% collection rate, then that should be roughly $100k in extra $$.

    It seems like they could have a self-funding "audit" position to reduce fraud. Consider:
    - A $1k fine is ridiculously small. This amount is not a deterrent at all given that private schools cost $20k/year. So that goes up to lets say $10k minimum, maybe (somehow) make it means-based and charge up to $50k.
    - Hiring a full-time audit professional, including salary, benefits and extra expenses, is probably going to be $150k/year.
    - That means all the person needs to do is find roughly 20 "fraud kids" (TM) per year to pay for himself / herself (at least until their efforts completely prevent fraud). And the audit itself should be easy as pie - simply investigate every new student who goes to an elite program (maybe by going to their house unannounced a few times, I'm sure there are other ways), including new transfers into elite programs. In fact, it probably wouldn't even need a full-time person to do it.

    However, as others have questioned, how incentivized is the district to meaningfully pursue fraud? That is, an extra 250 kids (ie. 0.5% of total - just a guess, could be more) means that SFUSD gets more funding for those 250 fraud kids.

    So the district would have to make a decision:

    A. Deal with a few more angry parents by permitting the fraud kids take up let's say 200 "premium" spots throughout SFUSD (must assume vast majority take premium spots, since otherwise would not risk/bother with fraud). Also, I say "a few" angry parents, because out of the 200 stolen premium spots, only a fraction of them would have gone to parents who otherwise would cause a stink - and who cares about the rest who just deal with putting little johnny in a less-than-premium public SF school (there is also a few - maybe 5-10 - extra families will leave the district because they didn't get into a premium school that they would have gotten into - let's ignore them too)

    B. Actively pursue the fraud kids, at a significant cost - ie. not just the cost of auditing itself, but also the reduced number of enrolled students. Just a total guess, but I'd say this could toll as much as 0.5% of the total budget.

    Given the district's budget issues over the years, I would assume that they have always *consciously* chosen option B - ie. better budgets but a few more pissed-off parents (and of course they'll have no matter what). In fact, the choice is really a no-brainer from SFUSD's perspective - The tradeoff is a few more teachers' salaries vs. dealing with a handful more pissed off parents, the latter of which can be compensated for with a tiny bit of extra combat pay for its staff, which itself is a tiny, tiny fraction of the incremental budget they would achieve by going with option B.

    Best,

    The masked muckraker

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  12. However, don't forget the district get paid by the state by per student, $5000+/student.

    So the district loses $400,000 for the next school year.

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  13. If the fraud families' kids are going to high demand schools, wouldn't those places be filled with other SF resident kids, many if not most of whom are otherwise going private so the district would not lose the per-student funding? I doubt people are committing fraud to go to Malcolm X or Denman.

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  14. Why are people so incredibly DIM?

    Look, if the district boots out 80 kids who are supposed to go to schools in other districts, that is 80 less kids going to SFUSD schools.
    So they'd lose the funding for those 80 kids. The kids who will fill their spots were going to go to SFUSD schools anyway.

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  15. What percentage of San Francisco schools continue to have waitlists?

    It's not just a few schools.

    And address fraud is not just happening at Sherman and Lowell.

    It's rife throughout the district.

    If an audit exposed empty slots, out-of-district families could go through the official process to attend SF schools. An audit would not result in empty school slots.

    Muckraker, you're right on. An audit could easily pay for itself. Actually, it could be a new major revenue source for the schools. (Just like the parking ticket and traffic jihad that is going on in the city.)

    And yes, the minimal fine is a joke compared to the cost incurred by honest, pushed out of public school, San Francisco families.

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  16. "Why are people so incredibly DIM?

    Look, if the district boots out 80 kids who are supposed to go to schools in other districts, that is 80 less kids going to SFUSD schools.
    So they'd lose the funding for those 80 kids. The kids who will fill their spots were going to go to SFUSD schools anyway."

    Huh?

    Even a slot that opened up at Fairmont or Flynn would be immediately filled, not just Sherman or Lowell.

    Get with it.

    Again, parents who are shown to be non-residents can pay the fine and be given the option to follow the procedure for SF non-residents. They can get in the line behind residents for a school slot.

    Or are you suggesting that the SFUSD not follow the rules that are on its books?

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  17. Yes, slots will be opened. However, if the slots are filled with kids who are already in the district, there is still a net loss.

    The district only breaks even if the spots are filled from kids who are currently attending schools which are not part of the district - meaning currently private schools.

    Do not look at this as one single school. We are talking about the student number for the whole district. 80 less students in the district means $400K less funding for the district.

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  18. yes, and those 80 kids are not coming to SF to go to Malcomn X academy, are they?

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  19. Kate needs to rename this thread and start a new one for "Another round of letters." No comments on the topic yet!

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  20. "Yes, slots will be opened. However, if the slots are filled with kids who are already in the district, there is still a net loss."

    30 to 40% of kids in the city attend private and parochial schools, not public. It is likely that a full half of these families would attend public school if a spot at a school such as Sherman, Flynn or Lafayette was available to them.

    In addition to the 30 or 40% of kids in private and parochial school, there are all the families that have moved out of the city because the could not get a reasonable school assignment.

    So no, an audit would not result in a loss of revenue for the city.
    The positions would be filled by families who otherwise end up moving out of the city, or sending their kids to private or parochials school.

    The city might also want to think of the long term viability of not providing access to public schools for tax paying residents. The city has no money. Our schools have no money. There are more and more empty store fronts. Only a fool would continue to think that we can expect people to pay taxes when basic services such as public school are not made available.

    It's been a pretty good gig, but it ain't gonna last. That's clear.

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  21. Saturday mail came and no letter. So I'm left wondering -- did I get no letter because my kid didn't get into the waitlist school or is it because the mailpeople didn't get the letter out in time on Friday? So should I go to SFUSD on Tuesday AM and wait in line and try to get something better even though it may turn out I got into my waitlisted school? Grrr . . . . they make it very difficult!

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  22. I don't think anything happened on friday because they didn't post anything on the website yesterday. can anyone confirm this? FRUSTRATING!!

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  23. My neighbor just received their letter, but I did not receive anything at today's mail. Does it mean anything.

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  24. I called EPC on last Friday. A lady said that they would update the waiting list next Monday. I received a letter today and it said that my appeal was denied. No more information.

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  25. If a spot in good school opens (like Sherman, Flynn or Lafayette), do you want to give to the kids who are in private schools right now?

    Or move existing kids from worse school, like John Muir?

    If a kid moves from John Muir to Sherman, the only available spot for the private school kid will be changed to John Muir. What's the chance that parents move their kid from private school to John Muir?

    Actually, my feeling is that the district should have an non-local fee option for out-of-district kids, and the fee should be enough to pay for another spot in the similar school. That is similar to Cal State or UC system's non-resident fee.

    That fee would be at least 5000, maybe close to 8000.

    With the additional income, the district can add classes to the more desired schools, to add spots.

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  26. It is my impression that most families coming in from Daly City, Oakland and Richmond would not be able to afford fees of $5000 or $8000.

    I don't disagree that SF families should be at the front of the line. Also, fighting address fraud will be even more important in the future because it will suddenly be more relevant to SF residents too, with the CTIP1 versus CTIP2 distinctions.

    That said, I can't see why SFUSD would discourage out-of-district transfers once SF residents have been placed. I assume that numbers of out-of-district students would drop somewhat as schools like Lowell, Sherman, Clarendon fill up completely with SF residents and some are discouraged, but there may be people willing to try extremely functional if not-trophy schools like Sheridan, in lieu of some of their schools in Daly City or East Oakland. Why wouldn't SFUSD take the money they bring with the extra enrollment? I doubt there would be many takers for Sheridan at $8000 though--given that the takers seem to be striving lower-income families that want better options than those available in East Oakland.

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  27. The idea of "selling" public school placements is repugnant, on so many levels.

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  28. Sure, it's repugnant.

    But it's also on the moral slippery slope to raize the spectre of the "striving" East Oakland family who commits address fraud to get into a high demand SF school.

    As of the end of April, there are still about 200 families on SF school waitlists. I'd say that the majority of these families were truthful on their application and are SF residents.

    Please, let's focus on that.

    Not morally squishy notions of "striving" address fraud committers or bribe prone pay-your-way-in policies.

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  29. May 29 5:04 PM is correct that the UCs sell public spots: they're upping the number of incoming out-of-state and international students because they pay more (the out-of-staters pay higher fees for a year; the internationals do for all 4 because they never achieve residency). If the U. Michigan system is any example, higher-paying students will be taking spaces that might otherwise occupied equally qualified CA students.

    Not that that makes it morally defensible.

    I totally agree that many of those 80 slots at high-performing schools might well be taken by families who had used private or parochial school as a backup plan. Not all, to be sure, but definitely more than a few. And whether a family is striving or not, address fraud is stealing taxpayer funds.

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  30. we didn't get anything in the mail. infuriating. why would they make open enrollment so close to the third round of letters? oh... that's right. because no one is getting their wait pool choice anyhow! after going 0/14 dealing with epc feels like a punch in the stomach.

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  31. I'm sorry for everyone's trouble who is still 0/15 or 0/16 or whatever the number is now.

    To put it in perspective, most waitpool movement will occur after school starts in August. That pretty much sucks but it is reality. A lot of people who are going elsewhere won't give up their registered spots and the district won't know that until they don't show up.

    Meanwhile, OE is an opportunity perhaps to trade up or to get something, anything....while remaining in the waitpool.

    It sounds like Lakeshore, Rosa Parks JBBP, and Harvey Milk may not be available right now. I wonder if Glen Park, Sheridan, Glen Park, Junipero Serra, Webster GE will be. Yick Wo and Jose Ortega GE may be a stretch, but who knows?

    Good luck everyone.

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  32. Am I tracking right here?

    In the Open Enrollment thread, someone calls EPC and EPC says you only get a letter if you got your waitpool choice. But because they mailed on Friday, it may or may not have arrived Saturday. If it didn't, you don't know if the mail was slow like last time, or if you are out of luck. The next mail delivery is Tuesday after 9 AM. But Tuesday is open enrollment, where you have to get there at 2 AM or whatever. So if you are 0/14 and without a placement you can live with, you have to go to open enrollment no matter what.

    Am I missing something here? If not, I kind of think we should occupy the building or some 60s-style drama.

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  33. EPC assured me they mailed letters Friday. If you've gotten letters the day after mailing in the past (Saturday round 1 and Wednesday or whatever it was round 2) no letter yesterday meant no luck. That's what I'm thinking happened to us. Bummer but not a shocker - we are in a big wait pool.

    Another surprise at EPC Friday - did you realize you CANNOT change wait pools after August 13? For some delusional reason I kept thinking I could try for my favorite school and then switch WP lists after the three day count . Whatever list you're on aug 13 is it for this year. We're rethinking our strategy - it's much more high stakes gambling than I realized. If you're in a big wait pool you really could get screwed.

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  34. did any one get anything in the mail? Any success stories for the May Waitpool?

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  35. How many of the children who were kicked out started school as SF residents, and their families later moved out of the city? I know a lot of kids whose families are in this situation. Stuff like divorce etc. make people move, and rents aren't cheap here. The last thing you want to do in a divorce is also move your kids to a new school. Often the families eventually move back into SF. Not every family has a stable address 100% of the time.

    But address fraud during the application process is a different story.

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  36. "How many of the children who were kicked out started school as SF residents, and their families later moved out of the city? I know a lot of kids whose families are in this situation. Stuff like divorce etc. make people move, and rents aren't cheap here. The last thing you want to do in a divorce is also move your kids to a new school. Often the families eventually move back into SF. Not every family has a stable address 100% of the time."

    I find this argument to be incredible.

    It is true that many families start school in the city and later move away.

    Most do not do so because there is a situation of hardship. They do it because it is cheaper, because they can buy a cheap house or find cheaper rent.

    I'm sure there are a few situations of hardship. The process is to approach the EPC, and make an argument for hardship.

    Then find an apartment in the city.

    Or do what a friend of mine just had to do: move to Portland because the schools are much better and, for $900/month, he can buy a house and pay a mortgage.

    I've got no problem with families completing the school year once they move out of the city, but after that, it's time to give up the slot.

    It's still address fraud if you move out of the city and, year after year, do not pay property taxes (rent or own), but have your kids taking up the spot of an SF taxpayer.

    These justifications are completely unacceptable.

    Here's the April 30th K programs waitlist:

    Alamo GE: 23
    Alvarado GE: 11
    Alvarado SE: 32
    Argonne GE: 21
    Buena Vista SE: 22
    Chinese Imm ES: 27
    Clarendon GE: 40
    Clarendon JB: 34
    Dianne Feinstein: 19
    Fairmont SE: 12
    Flynn SE: 13
    Grattan GE: 27
    Jefferson GE: 11
    Lawton GE: 38
    Lilienthal GE: 57
    McKinley GE: 15
    Miraloma GE: 37
    Monroe SE: 11
    Peabody GE: 11
    Rooftop GE: 39
    Sherman GE: 23
    Stevenson GE: 11
    Sunnyside GE: 10
    Sunset GE: 13
    Taylor CB: 20
    Taylor GE: 23
    Ulloa GE: 11
    West Portal CN: 13
    West Portal GE: 14

    There are about 20 other schools that have waitpools of between 1 and 9.

    I find it incredible that people are suggesting that any kind of address fraud (or other kinds of school application fraud) is acceptable.

    There have to be at least four hundred families still waiting to get into a public school. It's almost summer. And that's just for kindergarten.

    Four hundred San Francisco tax payers without access to a public school.

    And, some people are still suggesting that address fraud is acceptable and even necessary!

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  37. Just to be clear, those 400 families aren't without access to ANY public school. They just haven't been accepted to a school they prefer.

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  38. I'm an 0/14 mom who didn't enroll her daughter in the (awful) school we were assigned, and just figured I'd go to OE and sit in the waitpool for our neighborhood school. Saturday, I receive a letter ... and was very excited since SFUSD said 'we won't send you anything unless you got into your waitpool.' I open it. It says "your child has no assignment for the coming school year (because we didn't enroll @ our assigned school) ... "we will be closing your file until we hear from you.' Huh? Does this mean that they're not even leaving me in my wait pool I signed up for ... or including us in waitpool runs? I have a letter saying we're in the waitpool and I can't tell if this one cancels that one out.

    Guess I can ask @ open enrollment. Sigh. But any insights welcomed. Did anyone else get something like this?

    I'm completely perplexed.

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  39. 12:13, yup.

    But they always write it as though there is no school at all for their kids.

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  40. @10:11

    How did you access the info? Can you give us a link?
    I'm interested in first grade.

    Thanks

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  41. 10:11

    Forget it, I thought those were 6/1 numbers.

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  42. 2:34, no school you would find acceptable for your kid is still no school. You are still a taxpaying SF resident who deserves a decently-performing school for your child. Those waitlist numbers are huge, and include quite a few good but not trophy schools.

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  43. Look, even some of the perennial "hidden gem" "up and coming" schools have waitlists:

    Commodore Sloat,
    Monroe GE,
    Moscone,
    Revere,
    Starr King,
    Vis Valley CB, and
    Webster

    The argument that the only "tropy school" parents are still waiting for a school assignment is false.

    The schools are full. There's not a enough spots at even marginal schools.

    Are we going to continue to justify tolerating school application fraud?

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  44. I don't see how perjury and fraud can ever be acceptable, regardless of the potential loss of $400K (although I think one has to assume that some of those spots would be filled by students otherwise going to private). Why not fine these families to make up for the per student potential loss: $5K to $10K. I bet people would be more apt to find a moral compass.

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  45. Does anyone know how this (address fraud) effects the lottery for this current year? Some of those committing address fraud would probably have siblings starting K this year. Aside from Sherman, does anyone know what other schools are effected? I hope this means good news for the Sherman waitlisted families (and other trophy schools).

    I hope SFUSD aggressively fines and press charges as a deterent to others who may be contemplating fraud.

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  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  47. Address fraud should not be excused.

    However, I believe in competition, even between public school districts. That should be the same kind of competition between state-funded universities.

    So, it is really an idea how to introduce competition between the districts. Instead of having kids restricted by their addresses, they should be given options to pay to go to schools in other districts. They should be charge like private schools. Kids from outside SFUSD can go to school in SF, and SF can go to school in Palo Alto, as long as you pay.

    That also enable the public education system to get additional funding. When you look at the whole picture (state-wide), the number of public school kids stay constant, while addition out-of-district fee is added to the pot.

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  48. The school choice question I have is, in California, is address fraud the only way for a srudent to attend a school outside of his school district? If I lived just outside of the Piedmont School district, could I attend a school in Piedmont, if there were space? Elizabeth Warren, in her book, The Two-Income Trap, wrote in favor of being able to go to school outside of one's school district from a cost of housing point of view.

    What is the policy, in California, for out of disrict schools, and what should that policy be?

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  49. One can request a transfer outside of one's home school district. I believe the transfer has to be approved by both districts.

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  50. What is this nonsense ' "I'm sad to see kids that have been at Sherman since kindergarten be forced to leave and I think the reflection really is how do we change the system?" said Sherman Elementary School principal Sara Shenken-Rich.'
    She wants to change the system? How about parents tell the truth,then their kids won't get thrown out of school. And where are these kids coming from anyone? Sherman is only near Marin. Aren't all the schools supposed to be so much better than SF up there. This just makes me crazy. We can't get in the school 3 blocks from our house but some kid from Daly City can? And now we will have to drive almost to Daly City to take our kids to school. It's just stupid.

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  51. 10:39 AM, I can't see Palo Alto, with its amazing schools, being willing to give seats to SF children, for any price.

    But that aside, the principle of public education is that it's free. A choice system within a district ensures competition without rich kids being able to buy their way into good schools. Giving preference to lower-SES families within a choice-system district reflects the principle that education ought to be a route to upward mobility.

    Those seem like principles we ought not to take lightly.

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  52. Reply for a post earlier said "It says "your child has no assignment for the coming school year (because we didn't enroll @ our assigned school) ... "we will be closing your file until we hear from you.' "

    I have the exact same situation. Got a letter on Saturday. I'm so confused. I got the round 2 letter in early May said that they will keep me in waiting pool until July if I decide not to reactived it.

    So what that means?? CONFUSED! CONFUSED! CONFUSED!!

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  53. I got a letter like that too...I think they meant that they will be closing the "file" for you to still be able to accept their offer at that school. They are confirming that you are not interested in that school, and they are free to give it away (if they can) in open enrollment. You will remain in your wait pool for now.

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  54. With things the way they are in the city, it is unpardonable to allow students from outside the city to be given spots in good schools. I can assure you these parents, that were caught lying, are not sending their kids to Malcolm X or even Vis Valley or even Jose Ortega.

    These kids are most probably going to the best of the best schools in the city. Of the 80, there were 30 at Lowell. That is almost 40% of the fraud right there.

    How can anyone condone that? We have families fleeing the school system here because they can't get their kid into an acceptable school. Sure, there are some that will say there are schools available but how would they feel if their child was assigned to Malcolm X or El Dorado or Starr King (GE)? I would place good odds, that even if they lived near these schools, they wouldn't send their child to that school.

    I agree that most of these 80 kids were in highly sought after schools, because, really, who is going to look at a kid that gets into El Dorado or Malcolm X too hard. I doubt any of the parents there would call into a city hot line to say that a kid didn't live near the school or even in the city. The types of parents or people that call in are those that want the spot for their kid or are incensed that someone lied to get into such a great school.

    As for the fines, they should be 30 days of community service and at minimum $5000 for each year and each child attending a school here under false pretenses. This should only be for children that do not live in the city.

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  55. So Sherman attracts unethical cheaters as well as gung-ho parents.

    In addition to cheating, there should be an investigation into why so many children of government employees get into schools like Lillenthal and Clarendon.

    I know of three people who work in the public defender's office who have children at Clarendon.

    A PTA officer at Lillenthal told me that many city employees have children there.

    That's hearsay, I know. But look at the racial demographics. Clarendon is overwhelmingly white. How did that happen? It's not because of the luck of the draw.

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  56. If one listens to the broadcast from the link, all of the kids were enrolled in highly sought after schools. So no one found was attending any of the less popular schools.

    Throw the book at these parents. Sorry that the kids have to suffer but maybe they will learn not to lie and cheat.

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  57. 8:02, Your spot at the assigned school from Round I was released on March 26 if you did not sign up. Your spot at the assigned school from Round II was released on May 14 if you did not sign up. These dates are posted on SFUSD. I do not think the letter you got means "They are confirming that you are not interested in that school, and they are free to give it away (if they can) in open enrollment." Those spots were released already. You should call EPC to clarify what you letter means and to make sure you are still in your waitpool (which I think you are), but I'd still call and check.

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  58. Clarendon parent here. I know govt employees at
    the school who were actually on the wait list and then were able to get a spot. Many of those parents were in the same boat you are in. They waited and waited even after the 10 day count. Sure they took a risk, but it paid off for them.

    If you really want Sherman, Clarendon, Rooftop, etc.
    get on the wait list and wait and wait and take a gamble. Who knows, it might pay off, it might not...

    I don't think it's fair to say that those govt parents got their kid in due to where they work. Like I said, most of them had no school throughout the whole summer and even after school began!

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  59. Regarding government employees: I know for a fact that a family who worked for and as they say "at the pleasure of the mayor" was able to get their child into Lilienthal specifically because of that "connection". Albeit this was several years ago when Brown was the mayor. But still...a precedent, no?

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  60. 10:51,
    Just wondering, do you know how great the movement is for first grade JBBP waitpool? I was torn between JBBP and GEN to waitpool but I impulsively put JBBP. Now it seems there might have been some movement, albeit only 1 spot and that spot was probably moved to another school's waitpool, but now I am thinking id you have any advice since you are a Clarendon parent. This is my second year wp Clarendon =/

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  61. I work for the city. I know gov't employee kids at lots of schools...Milk, Marshall, Miraloma, SF Community, Argonne, Aptos, Lick, Hoover....a mix of trophy and up-and-coming or just diverse. You'll see gov't employee kids at all the schools b/c most of them can't afford private on a gov't salary (yes there are are few who make the big bucks but most of us are under the six figure mark). Therefore we have no backup unless we are okay with parochial, so we worked the process, but not in any illegal or corrupt way. In my case, going for an up-and-coming school. In several colleagues' case, waiting it out well into the 10-day count. I know a Clarendon family, gov't employee again, that transferred in the upper grades from another school after a few years. There are just a lot of us in the public schools b/c of the economics of it--and perhaps that we are not afraid of the "government" per se.

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  62. I know more than a few government employees -including people that work for the Mayor's office - that are on the waiting list as they didn't get their choice school.

    They have to play the lottery like everyone else.

    And the Brown Administration was ages ago - whatever happened then isn't necessarily happening now.

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  63. I don't think there is any question that there is a great deal of school application fraud occuring. We all know people who have gamed the system.

    Generally in the past, it wasn't as much of an issue.

    However, now private schools are very expensive, parochial schools are bursting at the seams, and more are more kids from out of the city are in our schools. At the same time, the district is suing the state for more of our tax payer money. On top of the $250+/year parcel tax and the rainy day funds we've paid for in the last several years.

    It does seam quite surprising that people connected to the Teacher's Union, the Chronicle, and school board continue to post on this blog that the system is A-OK and squeaky clean. "It's just a matter of sitting on the waitlist until the Fall." And too bad for you if you didn't get the school you wanted. You're just a "trophy school" parent and bad on you.

    Is is particularly suspect that the Chronicle and sfgate have failed to publish anything about the address fraud issue.

    80 out of 105 families investigated were found to be living out of the city. Only families that have been "snitched on" have been investigated. What about the vaste silence at the other schools?

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  64. The article is in "Mommy Files" no. Here is the link:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=64723&tsp=1&plckOnPage=6&plckItemsPerPage=10&plckSort=TimeStampAscending

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  65. Clarendon parent here-
    JBBP is harder to get into. Sure there's always
    going to be a spot open maybe in one class, but
    that's really about it. I don't see anything wrong with holding your ground and sticking it out until Aug. You never know, you might get a spot AFTER school begins. Since you already have a school, there's nothing wrong with sitting tight.
    The worst that can happen is that there is movement, but you're not the one off the waitlist. You'll just stay at your school. It's worth a try.

    Best of luck to everyone.

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  66. A family w/2 kids commutes to our excellent but non-trophy school from Antioch, leaving each morning at 5 am. I would never rat them out.

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  67. P.S. I think they use the SF address of an older sibling
    2:29

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  68. The Antioch parent(s) must work in the city, no? That's the case with heinous commute families I've known in private. (Antioch, yes, and try Fairfield? Ouch but true! The kids eat, do homework and sleep in the car.) This could be total BS, but I thought maybe I'd heard somewhere that if you work in the City you can send your kids to public school here on some kind of hardship deal? Maybe that's what's up with the family in Antioch? If you have such a long commute, how could you possibly get enough hours of child in your home district?

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  69. Sorry I meant to say "enough hours of child care in your home district."

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  70. I know a family that is based in SF (multi generations) but the single mom is having a hard time--combination of domestic violence and job loss--and they are temporarily living in a tiny place in Daly City. They've been out of the city borders since earlier this year. She is back in the city all the time caring for her mom and very much wants to move back when/if she gets a steady income. Child has always attended SFUSD and now attends a decent upper-grade school (not Lowell). I will not be ratting them out either. I'm not for fraud but this is one of those "walk a mile in my shoes before judging" moments. There's a lot of pain in the current recession. This kid needs to stay stable in current school. FWIW this family has rented and owned in SF for a long time until very recently.

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  71. I think most of the anger about lying is targeted at families that deceitful from the outset. I think if you lived in the city and there is hardship and you had to move out is one thing. I think that if you want your kid to get into a great S.F public school and don't live in the city and never did, that is a different matter.

    I remember a co-worker of my Mom's that lived outside of S.F. and used someone's address to get their kid into Lowell. They got caught and the poor kid, a half a year from graduation, had to go to another school in the city where they lived. Sucks but the parents lied to get into Lowell.

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  72. Good job on the "Mommy Files" article.

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  73. Maybe the policy has changed, but parents who live outside of SF but work here used to be able to get slots at San Francisco schools.

    I know two people from Oakland who had children in SF public schools because they worked here (not for the city, but for private companies).

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  74. "There are just a lot of us in the public schools b/c of the economics of it--and perhaps that we are not afraid of the "government" per se."

    I totally agree, 12:37 (city worker). I work for the state. Sometimes I just have to scratch my head at all the comments here re how "the system" at SFUSD is somehow out to get people. As someone who went 0/7 two years in a row, I realize the process can be incredibly frustrating. But I was able to not take it personally, and eventually ended up with a below-the-radar school we're really happy with.

    (I also have to chuckle when I read about all the "out-of-control" state spending and widespread fraud and abuse that various political candidates pledge to wipe out... Meanwhile, I'm at my desk re-using post-it notes to save the state money. But perhaps that's a bit off topic...)

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  75. About the "its who you know" school assignment process: The children of mayor Moscone's chief of staff both got into Rooftop. As did Mayor Agnos's kids.

    What are the ODDS?

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  76. Um, 12:09, that is a pretty ridiculous argument by anecdote. I am old enough to remember the Agnos administration but I was a child during the Moscone years. Both were mayor a long time (18 years, 32+ years) ago; no current student was assigned during their years in office. The student assignment systems used in their day were different. Several iterations ago, even.

    I would have to agree that under OER and previous assignment systems that there was room for corruption....remember the loose medical appeals people would make to be able to enter the lottery for Lakeshore and Rooftop???

    But anyway, while I would never say that corruption doesn't happen, because it does in every system I've known, the current lottery system has actually been largely free of it from what I've seen. In fact, this is come to be seen as a bug, not a feature, by many families who would LOVE to figure out how to work the system to their advantage and can't. quite. figure. out. how.

    It could be a wild ride into the new system though, with return to address-based assignments.

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  77. They'd just better check out addresses under the new system, is all I have to say about it. It's easier to cross-check than individual SES, as there is only one variable -- run each application address against a database of addresses for CTIP 1.

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  78. Has sfusd ever been truly audited? Why did it take them 8 years to discover this fraud?

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  79. oops, sent too quickly:

    this fraud:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/06/01/BA711DO9FG.DTL

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  80. "I also have to chuckle when I read about all the "out-of-control" state spending..."

    Your (state employee) bloated pension package, and the future pension obligations we have to cover your healthcare/retirement is going to drag the state of California into bankuptcy.

    Many of you can retire at the age of 55 at nearly full pay.

    We need to scrap the CALPERs system and make you join the social security system like the rest of us.

    BANKRUPTCY looms for California unless we change your pension cushion, Mr./Ms. State Employee.

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  81. 7:37, nice link. "Coral was a former claims examiner with the school district." Really, the school district needs its own claims examiner? How many claims do they have? The district needs to get back into the business of teaching kids!

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  82. With claims examiners like that, it's no wonder SFUSD is in such a mess!

    Can we call for the city to do an independent audit of SFUSD? I am sure this is only one example of many instances of fraud and theft.

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  83. Many of you can retire at the age of 55 at nearly full pay.

    That's a propagandistic lie. It's just not true. Not to mention that "full pay" would be, well, not a huge sum for many state employees, even if this crapola about retiring at full pension at 55 were true.

    Early retirement combined with generous pensions mostly pertains to safety officers (fire, police) due to the nature of their work and its dangers. Quarrel with that if you like, but it is not relevant to the vast majority of public employees.

    I know you have an ideological rant to make, but at least get the basic facts right. You might want to check sources beyond Rush and Glenn, to start....

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  84. OK, exactly how would the district audit the address?

    Of course, whoever faking the address now already provided two forms of address verifications. That doesn't prevent someone from using grandparents' address so the grandson can get into an SF school.

    How exactly can the district approach this issue?


    This will be a big problem next year with the new assignment system.

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  85. I've heard in the past of the district hiring a detective to follow kids home from Lowell. Urban legend or true?

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  86. I know a family at my trophy school who doesn't live in the city. Grandma lives in the city and I'm pretty sure they use her address (probably put a couple of bills in parents name). Another suburb family at my school must use a parent's San Francisco small business address (because they clearly don't live in the city).

    I wouldn't rat them out. (1) I like them and I don't see the need to cause them grief. (2) This seems like it's a grey area. They can claim they have 2 residences. As long as one is in the city, they are in committing fraud.

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  87. Can Grandma pay my property tax?

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  88. 5:06, a small business is not a second address. Nor is Grandma's house, unless she has joint custody. You are protecting two families who are stealing $$ from SF taxpayers and educational opportunities for SF kids. I hope you can sleep at night.

    3:43, good question about how the city can audit addresses. I'm not sure. It seems awful to require teachers to report it, and like a lot of money to do home visits. But I can imagine a model where every year a random number of people are audited, not everyone. If the threat of a random audit were coupled with stiff fines (say, $5-10K) and the kid being booted out by the end of the school year, I imagine it would have a deterring effect.

    I do wonder if auditing home addresses would get tangled up in racial profiling for illegal immigrants' kids. It would have to be absolutely clean, i.e., the audited pool generated by computer, and separated from any other city or state process. And there would be the problem of homeless kids, too.

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  89. "5:06, a small business is not a second address."

    Ed Jew found that out the hard way.

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  90. The saddest thing about these cheaters is the problems their children will face.

    Can you imagine sitting your 4th-grader down in the living room one afternoon and having to say:

    "Son, I'm sorry, but your mother and I are liars and have been cheating the system for the past five years. And so, you are being kicked out of the school where you have spent the last five years, the school that all your friends attend."

    Some heavy, heavy counseling will be in order.

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  91. They won't admit to lying, in front of their kids, they will just say that they need to send them to school closer to home.

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  92. True, but the child will discover the truth sooner or later.

    Then, the hard part will be trying to break away from the family mold and lead an ethical life himself.

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  93. "I do wonder if auditing home addresses would get tangled up in racial profiling for illegal immigrants' kids. It would have to be absolutely clean, i.e., the audited pool generated by computer, and separated from any other city or state process. And there would be the problem of homeless kids, too."

    Thank you for stating this. The current snitch line is very problematic because it is very likely to be biased.

    I'm for verifying every address, detective, and use of tax records from SF and all other Bay Area locations.

    The fines would likely pay for the audits.

    What does Palo Alto and Cupertino do? They probably have a lot of the auditing automated anyway.

    Time for the SFUSD to come clean.

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  94. To be honest, I don't think lying is a huge problem for a lot of families. If the child found out that he or she had been kicked out of school because the parents lied, they would probabaly think "too bad we got caught and better luck next time."

    Read the comments on SFGate. For many, *not* lying is considered to be a sign of stupidity. One person actually put up the post "If you ain't lyin', you ain't tryin'."

    The honor system is a failure.

    It's time for the city to get real about auditing.

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  95. "Read the comments on SFGate. For many, *not* lying is considered to be a sign of stupidity."

    Yes, we have become a nation of liars.

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  96. If grandma live in the city, why cannot they claim it is the address?

    In Asian culture, grand parents are very involved with the kid's life. Some kids may even stay at grand parents' house during most of the week, and parents pick up the kid for the weekend.

    I am not saying I agree with that life style. However, I do not see a problem with having those kids in the schools.

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  97. "Yes, we have become a nation of liars."

    I'm not ready to wave the white flag yet. However, thinking that the SF school application process, Wall Street, or the Oil and Gas industry can operate on an honor system is quite foolish.

    I still think there are a lot of honest people out there.

    I don't know what to do about Wall Street or the the rest, but the school board can easily implement an audit system. Not to do so is pure negligence.

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  98. @ Clarendon parent,
    How is the movement for GEN first grade? Would you recommend I switch from JBBP wp to GEN wp?

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  99. Unless Grandma is the legal guardian of the child, it is not legal for the address of Grandma to be used if the parents (legal guardians of the child) live outside the city.

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  100. I'm the parent who knows of families who don't live in the city and won't rat them out.

    When I say their situations are in the "grey area"...I mean it's hard to prove. I may know they don't live in the city because I talk to them during pick up and drop offs and they tell me things off the cuff. It's another thing to PROVE it. If the form of address verification is 2 current bills with San Francisco addresses in parents' names, they can clearly meet this hurdle.

    I know their PRIMARY residence in not in San Francisco (because they told me so)...but maybe kids stay at grandma's a lot (I've seen grandma do many drop offs). And maybe the parents pay for grandma's rent. And maybe there is a small apartment on top of the small business that the other family stays in every once in a while.

    SFUSD isn't going to track them down like Ed Jew (monitoring water usage and electricity). They are not going to follow the kids home from school every day for a month. Nor do I want the district to spend that kind money to hire an investigator to prove this level of residency when the funds could be better spent in the classroom.

    I'm all for address auditing and heavy fines in cases of blatant fraud. However, I'm practical...let's not waste our time or precious educational funds on cases that that are too difficult to prove.

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  101. What school do these kids go to? It's a lie and you know it. They are committing fraud and you are a party to it for not turning them in. You just don't care b/c your kid already has a spot at your trophy school. All of us law abiding 0/7s do care. So help a brother out and do the right thing. Call the anonymous line.

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  102. All of this speaks to the need for a formal audit of the addresses of all children in the system, trophy school or not.

    Since it has been de facto assumed that the district does not care about residency, and since the guidelines about residency don't seem to be available or made clear, it is fair that there be a grace period for people to move back to the city to correct their lack of residency in the city.

    The central problem lies with the lack of a formal verification system, not with people who won't rat out non-resident families.

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  103. "I know their PRIMARY residence in not in San Francisco (because they told me so)...but maybe kids stay at grandma's a lot (I've seen grandma do many drop offs). And maybe the parents pay for grandma's rent. And maybe there is a small apartment on top of the small business that the other family stays in every once in a while."

    OK, get real. Either grandma is a legal guardian, or she is not, whoever is paying her rent: if she is not, the children's address is their parents'. And you either live in an apartment full-time, or you do not (otherwise everyone with a time-share in Marin could go to Marin public schools). This is not a grey area. This is fraud. And it's not like it's not hurting anyone, as with some dumb code violation on a deck or the parking meter running out by 2 minutes. It is two families stealing tax money from your neighbors and educational opportunities from their children, while you sit and smirk. If you feel OK about that, fine, there's a medical diagnosis for people without any conscience. But the rest of us have every right to find your passivity outrageous (though not as outrageous as their fraud).

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  104. According to SFUSD EPC webiste, the registration requirement is:

    "C. Two (2) proofs of home address that include the name and address of the parent/guardian."

    EPC doesn't require primary residence in SF. If they own or rent 2 homes (one in San Francisco and one elsewhere), it seems to fulfill SFUSD requirements, regardless of where they spend more nights.

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  105. palo alto's residency requirements state you must live there 7 days and nights/week.

    http://www.pausd.org/parents/registration/proof_res.shtml

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  106. 2:02

    Nice way of arguing your point by saying "if you don't agree with me, you have no conscience".

    FYI, 90% of the district funding is from the state and fed, only 10% are local funding. Public education is a state right, not local.

    You are just upset that the spots are taken by those kids. However, as discussed earlier this thread, those spots are paid for by the state and the fed (well, at least 90% of it). If you kick out 20% of the kids, the total spots will be reduced by 18% (at least), and your chance to get into a desired school is not much better.

    I have no problem with parents using grand parents' address to send the kids to SF school. However, I do have problem with them applying for schools in two or more districts. If you want SF, then stick to SF (and its assignment system). Don't have your safe choice at some other district and then expect to be in the lottery for SF.

    Isn't this an easy problem to solve? There needs to be a state database, and one can only claim one address at any moment.

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  107. "FYI, 90% of the district funding is from the state and fed, only 10% are local funding. Public education is a state right, not local."

    That's not true.

    Here's why:

    1. State funds are raised primarily through personal income tax. In order to afford to live in expensive San Francisco, on average, you need to have a higher income than someone living in Richmond (East Bay). That's especially true if you have kids, since families tend to need more space. Therefore, San Francisco residents put more in the state pot than Richmond or Daly city residents.

    2. School facilities were built and paid for by San Francisco taxpayers.

    3. San Francisco voters pay a $32/year parcel tax to maintain school facilities.

    4. San Francisco voters pay $198/year for the Quality Teacher Education Act.

    5. Greater than $100 million of the San Francisco tax payer paid Rainy Day fund has been spent on San Francisco schools in the last three years to bridge the gap in the state funding shortfall.

    6. Property tax in San Francisco is higher because home values are higher. San Francisco tax payers pay more into funding parks and other amenities, compared to Daly City and other outlying areas, where home values and property taxes are lower.

    7. Many extras at the public schools, such as the music in the schools program, where kids visit the symphony, are partially supported by San Francisco taxpayers.

    8. The libraries, which many children use to do their school projects, are wholly supported by San Francisco tax payers.

    9. Many of the garden and greening programs at schools are paid for by, guess who? The San Francisco tax payer.

    So to say that there is no theft occuring is untrue. The San Francisco tax payer is fully footing the bill for education in this city + all the extras. And because of their on average higher income tax contribution to state funds, they're footing the bill outside of San Francisco as well.

    It's stealing, fraud, big time. No doubt about it.

    I will be frank with you and say that I also know of a family that is fraudulently attending a San Francisco school. I also will not turn them in.

    I don't see any reason to single them out when I know that there are literally thousands of kids attending our schools who don't live here.

    It's up to the school district to clarify their policy and enforce it.

    We should be writing and pressuring our the papers, school officials, supervisors, and the mayor, instead of ragging on people who don't want to rat out their friends.

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  108. Oh, jeez, 5:22 PM, do you have to be so reasonable? :)

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  109. 7:26 PM:

    Sorry!! I'm just tired, *tired* of hearing that it is the state, and not us, that pays for our schools.

    What a beautiful evening it is tonight.

    Happy weekend, all.

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  110. 5:22

    1. Personal income tax is paid no matter where you live.
    2. And etc. That's the 10% funding from the city and a lot is funded by PTA now.

    Also, one doesn't live in the city does not mean he doesn't pay tax here. If a parent drive kid to SF, it's likely that he works here. SF charges a pretty high payroll tax (1.5%). He has lunches in the city and shops in the city. All of these bring in tax revenue.

    My point is, since education is a state right, you need to look at the whole picture with the state as a whole. How will CA kids learn the most? How will the state serve the CA parents?

    In many cases (especially elementary), it is easier for parents to send the kid to a school close to the parent's work instead of home.

    I am just more pragmatic. I stand by my opinion that each kid should apply in one district only, and a non-resident fee be charged for non-sf residents.

    Yes, everything you said is true regarding how the fund is used. However, that doesn't change the total local funding is still 10% or so. Let's say the total per-kid funding from state and fed is 7000 or so, SF's portion will be 700 per kid. How about charge non-SF kid 2000 per person? That will more than make up the difference.

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  111. If it's ok for out of towners to take SF spots for school where does that leave the true City residents? We have to lie too, to get into another district? I don't work in San Mateo county or have a parent living there. The fact that these kids take SF spots leaves SF kids without one.

    I'm really surprised at how many people condone this behavior. They are not willing themselves to do anything to correct it. Yet blame the school board etc for not enforcing the rules.

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  112. "I'm really surprised at how many people condone this behavior."

    Me, too. Dishonesty is much more acceptable in our communities than it used to be. Same with purgery in court.

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  113. I think the word is "perjury."

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  114. "Dishonesty is much more acceptable in our communities than it used to be. Same with purgery in court."

    Yes, but dishonesty used to be more punishable. I'm not saying that was always a good thing, but with respect to school enrollment, districts have traditionally always checked, and taken action when it was shown that a dishonest act had taken place.

    Additionally, policies were usually quite simple and well understood.

    So many people here seem to think it's entirely above board to use the address of a relative or business. Quite a few people seem to think it's OK to keep using an old address, even after having moved out of the city.

    One poster directly asked Rachel Norton, on her blog, if it was OK to continue to use an old address, after moving out of the city. Rachel has not responded, which raises the question: "Does the district even know what its own residency policies are?"

    Why the unclear policy?

    On top of this, you have people moving to the Bay Area from all over the world with many different cultural approaches to "honesty".

    Expecting people to operate with an honor system against unclear policy doesn't work. It wouldn't have worked fifty years ago either.

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  115. Yet blame the school board etc for not enforcing the rules.

    But they *are* taking more steps to enforce the rules. Hence the 80 kids just kicked out of the system. They have said that not all of these cases came from the tip line. It may very well be the case that there is a some kind of audit happening in the system.

    Certainly they have said they need to step it up in advance of residence-based assignment, not just to be finding out-of-SF families; who wouldn't want to claim an address for the Clarendon, West Portal, or Sherman assignment zones? Or a CTIP1 address for the wider lottery? Fraud *within* SF is going to be a bigger problem now unless there are controls.

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  116. "They have said that not all of these cases came from the tip line. It may very well be the case that there is a some kind of audit happening in the system."

    Doubt it.

    Why don't we know about it?

    Why only 80 people caught when virtually every one of us knows of 1 or 2 kids per class who's parents' cheated to get them into public school.

    Even if the level of address fraud was only five percent, there would still be about 2,500 cheaters. How come only 80 of them have turned up? Remarkably only at Sherman and Lowell.

    Perhaps because those vocal parents at Sherman, the same ones behind the "Funding our Future" campaign, got mad about address frand at THEIR SCHOOL, and pushed for something to be done about it, at ThEIR SCHOOL.

    That leaves about 2,420 cheaters still in the system, even with the very cautious estimate of only 5% cheating.

    Cheating is a problem and will continue to be a problem with the new system, unless policies are clarified and enforced.

    Until this is done, I don't think the SFUSD has a leg to stand on regarding asking San Francisco tax payers for more funding.

    You only need to look at the US census numbers of kids in SF vs. the SFUSD numbers to know that there has to be some serious address fraud going on.

    I've been a little skeptical sometimes when people talk about lack of transparency at the board, but this address fraud thing takes the cake. It's really broken my sense of trust in the entire public school system.

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  117. "...when virtually every one of us knows of 1 or 2 kids per class who's parents' cheated to get them into public school..."

    I have heard of no one in my child's public school class (or any student in the entire school, for that matter) whose parents "cheated" to get them into public school. I know dozens of people who send their kids to public SF schools, and I've never heard anyone mention that out-of-city kids are in any of their classes.

    "You only need to look at the US census numbers of kids in SF vs. the SFUSD numbers to know that there has to be some serious address fraud going on."

    Huh?

    I don't "condone" fraud or cheating. But it's so annoying that people can say whatever they want, and suddenly that becomes "fact." On other threads, people are complaining that families are leaving SF in droves because of the terrible public schools. But now there are "2,420 cheaters" who prefer SFUSD to the schools in their own communities? I'm just not buying either argument.

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  118. Of course, only Lowell has cheaters.

    And BP is a clean energy company.

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  119. 2:12pm

    I completely agree that the policy is unclear. Like the other poster said...the only requirement for registration is a "home address". If a family owns 2 properties (one in SF and one elsewhere), they can claim the San Francisco house is their home (even if SF is not their primary residence). These families pay SF property taxes, shouldn't they be entitled to to SF public schools (even if it's grandma who lives in the SF house)?

    But why should only home OWNERS get that priviledge? So maybe SF home renters (even if they are paying rent for grandma to live there) should have that same privilege.

    With new assignment policies that are determined by "home address", it's time that SFUSD clarify their definitions.

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  120. "You only need to look at the US census numbers of kids in SF vs. the SFUSD numbers to know that there has to be some serious address fraud going on."

    What does this mean? That there are more kids in SFUSD than live in the citiy. Since
    this was stated with such certainty, please inform the rest of us:

    How many kids from 5-18 in SF?
    How many kids fo to SFUSD?

    If what you said previously was correct, I am sure you have this information handy.

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  121. "You only need to look at the US census numbers of kids in SF vs. the SFUSD numbers to know that there has to be some serious address fraud going on."

    I'm really wondering how you're asserting this, given that SF has one of the highest proportion of kids going private in the country, it'd have to be over 30% of SFUSD being fraudulent for you to be able to assert that the census figures show address fraud. (Err, as well as the census figures being 10 years out of date, of course.)

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  122. Census data on the web says there are approximately 78,000 children ages 5-18 in San Francisco and approximately 55,000 enrolled in SFUSD. Some of the private school population comes from outside the City. Not all the children are enrolled in school (dropouts, homeschoolers etc.). And I keep hearing that at least in some cases, people who work in the city are allowed to enroll their kids in SFUSD schools. I guess I'm not seeing how census data bears out the notion that SFUSD is filled without outsiders committing address fraud.

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  123. Yeah, I continue to be skeptical about how rampant this fraud issue is. I'm not condoning fraud, and I understand people's frustration about not having an assignment at this point in the process. Believe me, I've been there, and I remember the anger. When we're angry, it sometimes feels better to have someone or some policy to blame. As in, "If only SFUSD would do more to fight fraud, I'd have a K spot by now!"

    I mean, I'm genuinely curious to know what more people think the district could do to verify addresses for incoming kindergarteners. I'm not talking about people in the upper grades, b/c weeding out people in those grades wouldn't open up more K spots. When you enter the lottery, they ask for two documents proving residency. The person in front of me in line was turned away and told to come back because he hadn't provided originals. Short of following each K applicant home and/or hiring a private investigator, what more should the district be doing? I don't mean that in a snarky way. I just meant that it's not as if the district can just wave some magic wand and open up more spots at this point. Spots will open up, they really will, but in the meantime...getting worked about about all these supposed hundreds of spots being passed out like candy to people outside the city really isn't helping the situation.

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  124. 8:30,

    So we should resign our selves to having cheaters taking the spots in good schools? As a parent, if this were brought out that 80 students had cheated to attain attendance at a good school in your neighborhood that you could not get into, while your 5 year old were waiting for a decent school assignment, would you really be so blase? I'd be truly surprised if you answer yes. I maybe mistaken but I think not. These cheaters are not getting into the marginal schools or even the fair schools. They are enrolled in the best of the best. Heck yeah, people that live in S.F. are steaming mad. They do all the right things. Play fair and can't even get into a fair school while the cheaters are getting into the great schools.

    So I say give SFUSD some heat. We need to weed out these cheaters and put pressure on them to get their kids out of our schools. I also think that if a family doesn't live in S.F. but wants to enroll their child here, they don't get put into the general lottery. The get assigned after all the S.F. kids get into an acceptable school. Then they get what is available. Don't like it? Too bad. Go to school where you live!

    No, I am not white. No, I don't live in an area with good or even fair schools. No, I do not have a child trying to get into Kindergarten for the next couple of years since I have a child in a good school and the subsequent child will attend the same good school. So I have nothing to gain at this point but it still makes me mad!

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  125. 9:45 PM:

    Rock on, baby!

    Thanks for your eloquent comments.

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  126. Look, if they can follow up on truancy, they can follow up on addresses. Have spot address checks with required current bills be subitted in 10 day window at te school. Those who don't, follow-up.

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  127. Whoa -- I didn't mean to suggest that we should resign ourselves to anything. It just struck me from reading the comments that finding out about 80 cases of address fraud was taking on a life of its own -- that SFUSD was somehow condoning this behavior, that there were "literally thousands of kids attending our schools who don't live here," that all one has to do is look at census numbers to know that "serious address fraud" is going on, that "virtually every one of us knows of 1 or 2 kids per class who's parents' cheated to get them into public school," when I really don't get the sense from being in the system that that's the case. But upon rereading my comment, I can see that it came across as more accepting of the situation than I intended, and I apologize. With addresses becoming more of an issue with the new assignment system, I do hope that the district can find a meaningful way to weed out cheaters. I don't think it will be an easy task.

    For what it's worth, I tried to get into my good neighborhood school but was shut out. I send my child to a school that we love, but that is not considered one of the "trophy" schools and is a drive for us. Knowing several people who send their kids to the neighborhood school, I don't get the sense my child was squeezed out by out-of-district kids, but who knows.

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  128. 8:30,

    I don't know who posted the thousands cheating statement but it wasn't me. I know that there is fraud and I have heard of 3 cases second hand but since I don't know the people, I can't do anything about it. I would lay good odds that if someone is cheating, they are in a good school in S.F., what would be the point otherwise. That is why it makes me so angry. I could barely get my kid in fair school and it is very far from where I live. Not anyone's fault but when I hear that out of town children our getting into our best of the best schools when I had to fight to get into an acceptable school, that infuriates me. Good schools in S.F. are hard enough to get into. We don't need cheaters making it harder.

    So I'm glad your not resigned and I am also puzzled by these far fetched blanket statements about the amount of fraud being perpetrated. But I still think that there should be more rigor for fighting fraud. I think we should check the address on the driver's license and pay stubs with current address or maybe tax returns. If someone has moved recently, then the lease or if purchased then loan information. That would be more telling I think than bills. Because if you cheat on your license, it violates state laws. It can be much easier to fine and prosecute for that type of perjury.

    9:45

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  129. The cases I know are ones where the family did live in SF when the kids started in ES, subsequently moved out of the district, and continued to send all the kids to the ES. These cases could be eliminated by parents needing to show proof of residency at the beginning of each academic year, not only at the time the child 1st enrolls. My guess is this sort of situation is much more common than that of kids who never lived in the district applying to trophy Ks, but I could be wrong

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  130. 2:49,

    The cases I hear about are the kids in trophy schools using the addresses of relatives that live in the city (i.e. grandparents, brothers, sisters, etc.). From the cases that I have heard about, the families live in the east bay and parents work in the city. So it is easier for them to have the kids be in S.F. schools.

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