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Out of district students removed in Deer Park

October 2, 2012 6:04:37 PM PDT
Some students in the Deer Park School District may have noticed a face or two missing from their classroom this fall.

The school district has dismissed 41 students for not living in the district boundaries.

"They should be doing that. We're paying our taxes for our schools," parent Karl Schwarz said.

If you look at the past six years, the number is far greater. The Deer Park School District had denied re-enrollment to more than 350 students because they don't actually live there. That number is about four times what's typical in some other local school districts.

"I don't know if other school districts do it an extensive process as we do but we feel that doing it periodically keeps the integrity of the process," Deer Park Superintendent Eva Demyen said.

Demyen says every time a student goes into the next school parents are asked to show proof of residency. The district started the process back in 2007 when it began to question whether students in the district really belonged there.

"As we say, you know in these very tough fiscal times, you want to make sure you're doing right by your budget," Demyen said.

George Deabold, an independent education advocate on Long Island, says what's happening in Deer Park is not uncommon.

"It's just a result of parents just trying to get their kids into better schools," Deabold said. "In New York State there is no voucher system set up. There's no school choice. There's not enough charter schools, so you're basically locked into where you live."

Any parent who feels that his or her child does belong in a certain district can always appeal the district's decision to the state commissioner of education.

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