school city more worried about money than kids

First a little background on the post…

I took in my 11 year old niece at the end of Dec. (during christmas break) and was granted full gardienship the first part of Feb. of this year.


Her mother didn’t send her to school (the poor kid couldn’t read simple Dr. Susse books when she came to live with me) She has never spent an entire school year in the same school (untill this year) and missed school at least 3 times a week (i found out that last school year she was out over 100 days…thats over half of the year) Since moving in with me she has missed 3 days because of the flu and she had a Dr. note. She is doing great now, infact she is now reading at a 2ed grade level and doing 3ed grade math.

Anyhow today was the last day of school I get called up to the school to take care of book fees that were not paid at the begining of the school year or I would be taken to court (not her mom who is the one who didn’t pay the fees, but that ok…I paid) While there they tell me she won’t be able to come back to that school next year unless we move. See we live in the next town…(the towns butt up against one another) we live less than 5 miles from the school and my work is 4 1/2 blocks from the school in the same town. I offer to pay toution…nope because the town we live in will get the tax money instead of them…

Come on people get a fucking clue, we are talking about a child who is FINALLY coming out of her shell, actually making friends, will now talk to the teachers, and acutally looks forward to school now because she likes it there. The teachers have even said she is a totaly differant child since Christmas break. But hay who the fuck cares if they wont get the tax money??? I don’t get it?

So now what do I do. Add yet another change into her young life and send her to a differant school, try to sell my home and move, or risk telling them we moved when we didn’t (probley not the best idea since the courts are involved.)

Sigh…sorry I know its not much of a rant but it helps to bitch a little.

Mother of three here, a 17, a 15, and an almost-12.

She’s 11? She’ll handle it. Trying to sell your home and move to a different house just so she could stay at her school would be even more disruptive (if it’s even possible to get it done in the next three months, which I doubt), and would make her feel guilty about all the trouble you’re going to on her account.

Arguing with school districts about taxes never accomplishes anything. Welcome to the world of Parenthood! :smiley:
Don’t try to sneak her into her old school–that’ll cause her even more embarrassment when (not “if”) you get caught. The keyword here is “Normalcy”. It’s normal, sadly enough, for kids to have to change schools. In next year’s school she’ll meet lots of other kids who have also had to change schools for really dumb reasons.

Eleven is easier to deal with than, say, kindergarten, because you can explain things to her and have a reasonable hope that she’ll understand. She’s old enough to understand about tax districts.

What she doesn’t need is to be made to stand out from the crowd, to have you make a spectacle of yourself–and her. Relax. Go with the flow. Chill. Make sure she has absolutely killer clothes for next year, plus the Perfecto Backpack.

Locally the various school systems have a set up where they trade credit for students from their districts that go to school in a different district. You could try checking with the other school and see if anything like that could be done for your niece.

Talk to the school board. I am sure that they have some kind of mechanism in place for occasions like this where a student is technically in a different district, but attends school in this district. Talking to the principal, teacher, whoever (you didn’t specify who it was) may not help, because they don’t have the authority to bend/break the rules. The school board or superintendant does.

The problem may not be the tax money so much as the population of the school. State laws set limits on class size, and those are rules that the superintendent does NOT have the authority to bend or break. If having out of district kids in the school puts them over state cap for any given grade, the board has 3 options: break the law and take it in the ass when they get caught, try to hire another teacher and set up another class, or get rid of the out of district kids. Take a wild guess which choice is the most reasonable.

That being said, it’s sad that this kid has been shuffled around so much and now has to be moved again. But I have to wonder why she wasn’t put in the proper district when she first came to live with you. You didn’t specify, but I kind of got the feeling that this was a new school for her. If that’s the case, you put her in an out of district school for convenience, and you’re the ogre, not the school.

The reason she remained in that school for the entire year was because the courts said it was ok. When she first came to stay with us it was to be only untill her mom was released from jail, but when the courts decided enough was enough we were given full gardenship of her. I know the main reason she is excelling so well in school now is because she is actually there but she is also making friends for the first time in her life and I am just worried that a change would set her back again. But I am not going to risk allowing her to remain in my care so I will get my bitching out here in the pit and play nice-nice with the school board.

Thanks for the advice…and the place to vent

I don’t know if this applies in your case, but when we (the ex and I) wanted to send our son to a different school than the one in our district (which sucks—lowest performance rating in the system), we were told all we had to do was get a P.O. box in the appropriate district.

I went to a school outside my district for High School because–much like Ferrous’s case–the one I was supposed to go to was horrid. To make it legit, I had to take Latin for all four years–since that wasn’t offered at shit-school and I could claim it was necessary to my education (pre-law). I don’t know if they offer these kind of “official transfers” for younger kids, but it’s worth looking into. If worse comes to worse though, I don’t think going to a new school will kill her. Make sure you offer to help her keep in touch with her new friends, if you’re that concerned about her losing them.

On another note–good for you for stepping up and taking your niece in. You’ve saved her from a nightmare in the foster-system and it sounds as if you care enough about her that she has a real shot at succeeding. Good Luck!


I second what Abe and everyone else said–there are sometimes ways to get exceptions made, so ask anyone and everyone from principal to social worker to district superintendent to school board for a list of the possible ways to get an exception made.

Nonetheless, even if you have to change her school, is there maybe a siver lining? At 11, she should be in about 5th grade, but she is doing 2nd-3rd grade work, and this appears to be improvement. You don’t say if she is in special ed or has been held back. If you work with her over the summer (perhaps you can arrange for tutoring or summer school or participation in a library reading group too?), maybe she will arrive at the new school and they will discover that she can quickly be promoted to a higher grade. If this is the case, the fact that she is at a new school may help her out socially–the kids won’t know that she was previously held-back (if this is the case) or labelled a slow learner.

Anyway, you are indeed doing a good thing by taking in your niece. Thank you.

I assume that after all the trips through the legal system, the girl has a caseworker, a therapist, and whatever Special Ed teacher takes the lead at here IEP meetings. Before you go to the school board, I would recomend that you get letters from these people and anyone else even a litle connected to the girl who has letters after their name stateing that in their professonal opinion, a move between schools would be “substanitally detrimental” to her well-being.

I would also gossip with the special ed teachers and anyone else (PTA?) and try and find out if there are any out-of-district students currently attending.