The East Providence School Department is asking all parents of students to prove they live in the city by the end of September.
The new residency requirement “updates our records” and “protects taxpayers,” said Superintendent Kim Mercer.
“It was brought to our attention that there are some students who go to school in East Providence who do not live in the district,” said Mercer. “It’s for everyone’s safety and benefit.”
You can use any type of document that proves your residency in East Providence, said the superintendent, such as a utility bill. It does not require anyone to turn over personal, confidential information to school officials.
The new requirement this year is not going over well with at least one resident, however. Richard Raphael of Quarry Street, said in an email to Patch:
“My wife and I — with our six kids — have lived in East Providence for more than a decade,” he said. “We have two cars registered here. We own a house here — our only home; we raised our six kids here, five of which still attend East Providence schools. With respect, we find the idea that we have to provide proof five times to three different schools is asinine and unnecessary.
“No one objects to legitimate investigation or pursuit of the moochers,” he said, “but annual reporting to East Providence public schools seems to be overreaching, tantamount to a stop-and-frisk policy and will likely be equally ineffective as the stop-and-frisk policy (not to mention an administrative nightmare).
“To prove residency in a substantive way, one must produce copies of private personal yet official documents (e.g. tax documents, drivers' license, etc.). A bill alone in one's name at a residence in East Providence doesn't prove residency.
“The City has access or has the information for those legitimately residing in the city. The tax department, for example, has access to motor vehicle and drivers records.”
Raphael has a few other questions for officials as well:
- Has the School Department/Committee stopped notifying parents in advance about substantive policy changes like the one in question?
- Is there no longer a time and place for people to voice their concerns with new policies like this, as well as implementation?
- Where did the implied authority to compel parents/guardians to prove residency annually come from?
- Where (online) are the current School Department/Committee policies and bylaws located?