Parents rush to prove residency

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2008

VIDALIA — There was a sprint of Concordia Parish parents eager to prove their students lived in their respective school districts with the beginning of school.

“There has been a bit of a rush the last week, because a lot of people waited until the last minute to prove their residency,” School Superintendent Loretta Blankenstein said.

As of Thursday, there were approximately 3,900 students enrolled in the Concordia Parish school district, Blankenstein said.

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Due to a U.S. Justice Department desegregation order, students beginning any Concordia Parish school for the first time, whether lower or upper elementary, junior high or high school, had to prove they were a resident of that school district, regardless if they had already proven residency for their previous school.

At Vidalia High School, Counselor Cynthia Smith said the enrollment for incoming freshmen was high, but that the vast majority of them were able to prove their residency without any problems.

“There were only three or four students who tried to register who were not able to meet the requirements,” Smith said.

At Vidalia Upper Elementary, there have been 35 students to drop for whatever reason, whether they lived out of zone or had moved to a different school district, Principal Darla Johnston said.

There were a few children who could not be seated in classes Monday because they had not proven their residency, but Johnston said they were blessedly few.

“I had about six kids who didn’t have (proof of residency), and the parents proved residency within the hour,” she said.

Vidalia Junior High School Principal Whest Shirley said he thinks between 20 and 30 students at his school residence is suspect.

Most of the residencies are legitimate, but there are a few that are will be investigated, Blankenstein said.

“Our supervisor of welfare and attendance is going to check those out,” Blankenstein said.