Saturday, August 28, 1999

Students find they're in wrong district

Fairfield tells them they must transfer

Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — For four years, Pat and Ron Collins have sent their son Timmy to Fairfield City Schools. Now they don't know where to send him, or his brother, Michael, who just started kindergarten, on Monday.

        Late Thursday afternoon the family got a phone call informing them they do not live within district boundaries and must send their children to Hamilton schools. . Friday morning Timmy, an eighth-grader at the middle school, was given withdrawal papers and his books were taken. He spent most of the day in the school office, near tears, his mother said.

        “... Now they're saying we can't go here? I don't know why,” Mrs. Collins said. “I made sure we lived in the Fairfield Schools before I bought a house here.”

        Superintendent Charles Wiedenmann said the Collins family and one other on Fernway Drive don't live within district boundaries and cannot legally attend Fairfield Schools. He said school officials contacted both families by phone Thursday and sent them letters. Mr. Collins received his letter Friday when he went to the middle school.

        “We don't want to be nasty, but we can't by law allow them to go here,” Mr. Wiedenmann said Friday. “They're paying taxes to Hamilton. The law is the law.”

        In the last year, the district has investigated 200 to 300 families and found that they did not live in district boundaries. Those families — some of whom had given the district a false address — were told they could no longer attend Fairfield schools, Mr. Wiedenmann said.

        New routing software being used by the transportation de partment flagged the Collins family address and two others on Fernway as questionable, said Bill Westerbeck, transportation director.. At most three or four children are affected, Mr. Wiedenmann said.

        Parent Danyal Womer said she has not received a letter yet but called the school and has been told her daughter, too, must transfer into Hamilton schools. She said she believes she is paying taxes to Fairfield and plans to dispute it so her daughter can continue at the Fairfield Kindergarten Center.

        Mr. Westerbeck explained that Fernway Drive is the border between the Hamilton and Fairfield school districts. Part of the street lies in one district, part in another.

        Mr. Wiedenmann said if families can prove they live in the district — through a tax duplicate or other legal document — they will be allowed to return.


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