SFUSD kicks out 80 kids due to address fraud

May 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A crackdown is coming targeting parents who lie to get their kids into desirable schools. It's called address fraud and educators in San Francisco are going after parents who do it. There are dozens of families who live in other cities, as far away as Oakland and Daly City, claiming to be San Franciscans.

Some of the parents who got caught cried, told sob stories, and even offered money, but officials are standing strong and will kick all 80 kids out of San Francisco schools.

With a nutrition specialist on staff, a huge garden where the kids grow everything from artichokes to figs, and a reading program tailor-made to each student, San Francisco's Sherman Elementary is at the top of most parents' list.

The school receives nine applications for every one available spot.

"It was really frustrating; there were a number of mornings where my husband and I said 'We're going to write to Gavin Newsom today!'" said parent Yvette Bromberger.

Bromberger lives near Sherman, yet her daughter didn't get in until she had already started at another private school.

But now an investigation reveals three students at Sherman don't even live in the city; their parents lied about their address.

"We thought about it. We thought 'You know, it would be so easy to lie on the form' and we said, 'We're not going to do it that way. This is supposed to be an honor system,'" said Bromberger.

But for the first time, the district has decided to aggressively crack down and has found 80 kids who don't live in San Francisco, attending the city's best schools.

"The ones we have found are at schools that have waiting lists that have a lot of families who live in San Francisco who wanted to go to those schools," said district spokesperson Gentle Blythe.

Thirty of the offenders attend San Francisco's prestigious Lowell High School. Despite tearful pleas from some of the parents, district officials will be pulling the kids out of school.

"They have committed perjury so we could potentially press charges against them if they don't pay the fines," said Blythe.

The kids leaving Sherman have been there for a few years; their principal thinks there's a bigger problem here.

"I'm sad to see kids that have been at Sherman since kindergarten be forced to leave and I think the reflection really is how do we change the system?" said Sherman Elementary School principal Sara Shenken-Rich.

District officials found out about a lot of these cases from a hotline they set up as part of their crackdown.

SFUSD tip line: 415-522-6783


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