As the summer vacation clock rapidly ticks down to Tuesday's opening day of classes for Greenwich Public Schools, school district officials continue administering the student residency verification program.
Each year, Greenwich Public Schools requires all families of students new to the district, including all kindergarten students, provide verification that they are residents of Greenwich. All incoming ninth-grade students also must verify or re-verify that they are Greenwich residents.
For the 2013 school year, the Board of Education expanded mandatory residency verification to kindergarten through fifth grade —including continuing students, as well as all ninth-grade students. This census data will be factored into the board's review of facility utilization and racial balance.
Since July 1, when the verification process began, about residency has been verified for about two-thirds of the affected students. Parents have until Oct. 1 to submit documentation at the Board of Education headquarters, 290 Greenwich Ave.
In numbers released Thursday, about two-thirds of all students' residency has been verified. The percentages range from 41 percent at Hamilton Avenue School and 55 percent at New Lebanon School, to 90 percent of all Greenwich High School freshmen. (For a complete report on each school, please see accompanying PDF.) Both elementary schools are facing overcrowding and racial balance issues.
As of Aug. 20, 67 percent of the K-5 and 90 percent incoming 9th-grade students have verified residency.
When asked if Hamilton Avenue and New Lebanon historically have lower response rates, Benjamin Branyan, the district's managing director for operations, said "While it is true the HA/NL have lower response rate than other schools, since this is the first time running this program for all K-5 students we have no baseline of comparison."
The process for residency verification can be found on the GPS web site, http://www.greenwichschools.org/page.cfm?p=81.
Families received an initial notice of the requirements for this year at the end of June, and receive weekly reminders via Parentlink phone calls until they have verified residency. Families were notified to bring the required documents between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, to the Greenwich Board of Education, prior to Oct. 1. No appointment is necessary.
Parents were informed that if they failed to verify residency prior to prior to Oct. 1, 2013, their student would be withdrawn from the Greenwich Public Schools. There were seven students who were withdrawn from the school system for non-residency between October 2012 and February 2013, according to Branyan.
Branyan said school officials will decide after the start of school on how to continue the parent notification process to provide residency verification.