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Millburn Schools Superintendent Responds to Non-Resident Student Controversy

Bob Faszczewski

Friday, January 31, 2014 • 8:54am

MILLBURN, NJ – Addressing a controversial topic at Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent James Crisfield outlined district efforts over the years to deal with non-resident students attending township schools illegally.

He noted registration was decentralized to the schools in 2010, new registration was transferred to the Education Center in 2011, all incoming ninth graders were re-registered in 2012, in 2013 a part-time central registrar was hired “to further standardize and improve efficiency” and a new verification process was instituted for address changes, and this year, he said, the district would re-register students in at least two grades.

The superintendent also said future options may include transfer of the attendance officer duties from school business administrator and board secretary Steven DiGeronimo to the district security coordinator, investigation of contracted services to expand residency verification capability, investigation of the cost and feasibility of re-registering all district students at once and implementation of online registration for initial student signup and annual updates that would alert the district to undocumented changes and send reminders of lease end dates and other data.

Board property committee chairman John Westfall-Kwong also said that the board endorsed the use of an online system, verifyaddress.com, in addition to the 2014 two-grade registration. The superintendent spoke with representatives of the online system at this year’s New Jersey School Boards Association Convention.

Although congratulating the board and administration on moving forward with detection of non-resident students, some members of the public said more could still be done.

Former board member Lise Chapman said information on non-resident student detection on 19 districts she had passed on to Crisfield had not been passed along to board members.

The superintendent replied he had discussed Chapman’s material with the board, and board members also said that, when they followed up on many of the districts cited in Chapman’s material did not follow the procedures cited in her materials or had different results than she cited. She replied that her sources were based only on public statements and it was up to the board to dig further.

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