District 161 board considers hiring residency investigator

The Flossmoor District 161 school board is considering hiring a full-time residency investigator. The district previously used a private investigative service.

“There’s a general sense in the community that we have people taking advantage of residency by taking the train into town, taking buses in. It’s a persistent rumor,” said school board member Cameron Nelson during discussion at the Oct. 29 board meeting.

Nelson said he thinks spending more money on thorough investigations is a good idea. The investigator would likely be a retired police or security officer who would look into cases of families that are allegedly living out of district while sending children to Flossmoor schools. Pay for the position would be $25 an hour.
“This is certainly not a money-saving recommendation,” Superintendent Dana Smith said. “It’s a quality issue.”

Smith said the district spent more than $3,000 last year using National Investigations, Inc., but was unable to bring any of the cases to a hearing. 

Part of the difficulty in following through is that the district must prove not just that the student lives out of district but also what the student’s actual address is, he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s theft of services,” Smith said. “We have people that pay taxes for their children to go to the schools and to have the amenities and the class sizes and all these great experiences.”

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