27 answers

Using a Different Address So Your Child Can Attend a Better School

Hi Moms. My daughter will be attending kindergarten in the fall. Obviously, my neighborhood has a public school that I could send her to, but it is a very low performing school. My daughter is very intelligent and I want her to be in a school that develops that. I live in Massachusetts which has the School Choice Program. I had been planning on applying to the program and sending her to a great school near my work. I just received word that that school is not accepting elementary level children. I am devistated! I called other schools and many of them accept 1st graders, but not kindergarteners. I do have another option though. My parents live in a very good school district. I could send her to that school by claiming that I live with them. I even can produce the proof they school asks for. I do not feel comfortable lying, but I want her to attend a good school. Has anyone else done this? Has it affected your kids negatively that they have to lie about were they live? Has anyone ever gotten caught? If so, what are the consequences? My other alternative it to send her to Catholic school. I am not thrilled about that option because of the cost and because I am not a devout Catholic. I woild bank most of my money to try to move to the area where I would be sending her to school, but that will take time. I just don't know what to do. Please help!

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So What Happened?™

Hi Everyone - Thank you all for you advice. Most of you gave me very helpful, honest advice which I deeply appreciated. Some gave very mean, rude responses. I see this a forum where moms can come to get other mom's opinions without judgement. Please be kind as well as honest when you respond to people's questions. So, I finally have resolved my problem. I found one school in the area that accepted School Choice applications for kindergarteners and I submitted an application. There were more applicants that there were spots, so it went to a lottery drawing. I was informed that my daughter got a spot and would be able to go to school in that town until she graduated high school. I was so happy I cried. Before finding out this information, I had already decided to do the right thing and not lie. I was never comfortable with the thought of lying. I was prepared to send her to a private school and pay thousands to do so. Instead, my daughter gets to attend an excellent public school district and it was all done legally. I am so happy with how everything turned out.

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I think it's unethical. Work with what you have, where you have it. If it's unacceptable, make a change.

And, seriously, kindergarten? It will be fine. Use this year to make a plan and move.

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We did this when I was in elementary. My dad found a nice school for me to go to and then lied about where we lived. About 1/2 way through the school year, they (someone in the office) took me out of class and asked me my address. When I gave them to one we said we lived at they kept pushing on that we didn't live there. Being 6 or 7--I broke and was kicked out of that school and ended up having to finish the rest of that grade and all remaining elementary grades at the school I was zoned for.

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I live in a great school district and we pay HUGE taxes to live here. We made the sacrifice to live in a smaller house with less stuff so that we could send our kids to these schools. We did our research before we purchased our house and we support the school district when ever they need more operating money, from levy's to school income tax hikes. It is expensive to live here and we could have double our square footage and had a huge yard if we moved into a less stellar school district.

Every single year, there are children whose parents made a choice to live in a bigger house, with more stuff, who send their children to school here by lying about where they live. Pure and simple, it is stealing, and our school spends some of my hard earned tax dollars to hunt down these cheats and kick their kids out of school. EVERY year, several of these poor inocent children are embarrased and devistated because their parents were unethical. It is not the kids fault, but they pay the biggest price. The concequences are not so big for you, but they are for the kids.

Our schools pay far more than the national average per child, over $11,000 each, so we get what we pay for here, and children whose parents don't pay in, should not be getting this windfal. Public education is not free. We pay for it, and if you want your kids to go to a better school, move into the district even if you have to take a finicial hit to do so, but don't steal because it is easier. I wish that our school district would prosecute these theives and seek reimbursment from the parents for tuition and the cost of hunting them down.

I am being blunt because this is reality. Make the sacrifiece to move or pay for private school, but set an example for you child and don't steal her an education.


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Don't do it! I went to one of the best public high schools in the country and everyone wanted in. There was a kid in my class whose parents cheated/lied to get him in. Well, someone tipped off the school. The principal followed him home after school, getting on the same bus he did. This kid was kicked out of our school senior year. Everyone knew and everyone thought and said horrible things about his family. Cheating and lying to get your child into a particular school sets a really bad example and the consequences will be immediate and affect your child significantly when you're caught.

I went to one of the worst elementary schools, on the other hand, and still got a great education. Things there only got bad when they moved junior high into elementary to save money and I got bullied, but that was much later down the road. My early years there were good ones and even with the low test scores there, I was able to learn a lot and do really well in the top high school after we moved.

6 moms found this helpful

Is not one part of your daughter's education the ethics and morals she sees adults model? Do you really want to model fraud and ends-justifies-the-means behaviors? You are uncomfortable with lying because you know it is wrong, so don't do it.

**No, I have not been faced with the prospect of sending my own children to an underperforming school, but my parents had 5 kids and did not trust the schools in their district, so they cut all unnecessary expenses and sent us all to Catholic school for 13 years. They have owned their home and paid taxes on it since 1978 but have never utilized the public school system. The funding formula for public education takes into account the fact that not all tax payers will be using the schools. When people defraud the public school system, they only cause higher taxes for those who are already paying into it. This is why it is illegal!!**

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I'll tell you this. I wouldn't do it. When my children were in kinder (they all had the same teacher) I saw it happening every year in their kinder class. Now you need to remember that kinder is a very important grade for your daughter, she needs to learn her address and phone number. Do you want to teach her both? it's hard enough for them to learn one address and phone number, imagine two and then and on top of that you'll have to tell her to lie about it when they ask her in school! Because the teacher will test them to make sure that they know their address. If she says the wrong address when being questioned imagine how she'll feel!!! and the embarrassment you'll go through. You don't want to confused your daughter any more than she is already is or will be!!
So, if I was you I wouldn't do it. Oh, and just for the record I went through the same situation as you with the school system, and I prayed and prayed and prayed!!! and thank God we had good teachers for the exception of one. When my oldest was starting 4th grade, my husband and I talked about either sending him to private school or moving. Since we couldn't afford the private school, we sold our house and moved to a better school district.
Don't give up, go check the school out, the secretaries, the principal, the teachers, make yourself known to them. Volunteer if you can in her class so you can have a better feel of the teacher and how they teach. Do all you can, but please don't put your daughter through an uncomfortable situation.

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This is a very slippery slope!! You said you can produce the proof, do you really know just 'how well' they investigate? Where I live they take it very serious, it's called fraud. We moved to a new school district before my son was to start 3rd grade. We had to fill out the usual enrollment forms and were told to bring a utility: water,gas or electric bill with our address on it. But what they don't tell you is they check (on the spot) the public records/ county assesors office to see if the address you are supplying is "owned in your name" or if any other properties with different addresses come up with your name. So, if you "use your proof" to get her into the better school, could they then find out you actually "own" a house with another address. In this district, if you "rent or lease" you have to have a signed/notarized affidavit that you rent or lease and the person filling out this form must be the one stated as the owner of the propery as listed in the public records thru the county assesors office.

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I understand wanting your child at the best school possible and if she can start in 1st grade then there won't really be any harm in attending one year at the school in your area. You can do things at home to enhance her education as well.

You will be teaching your child at a very young age to lie. At her age she is too young to understand the differences in a lie. While your intentions are very good and only coming from love for her, it is still a lie. She will learn soon enough how to lie but don't let that lesson come from you or let that lesson be confirmed by your actions.

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What kind of message does this send your child - that it's okay to lie and be dishonest to get ahead in life?

Also, please keep in mind that if you were ever to get caught the school district would have every legal right to bill you the per pupil cost of attendance for all the time your daughter spent in the school while you were not in district and not paying taxes. Depending on the average per pupil cost per year, you could be looking at thousands of dollars.

You need to do the right, ethical, and honest thing. Don't be a bad example for your daughter by being a liar.

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I'm not sure how it works in your area, but here this is how it works here. The school system has a "task force" who checks up on things like this. If there is ever any "leak" that she doesn't live @ Grandma's house, they will actually investigate...as far as doing a home interview and inspection. Also if someone gets "cought" allowing another person use their address, the homeowner/resident can actually be charged with a misdomeaner.

Keep in mind that you will be asking you 5 year old to lie to everyone. Whenever someone asks her where she lives, she will have to say Grandma's house is her home. What message is that sending to her? She is not old enough to understand that it is for her own good. We all do things we're not proud of sometimes in order to give our kids what we feel is better for them, but personally, I think it crosses the line when we have to involve our children in the deceiving.

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