In today’s age of tight budgets schools look very closely at whether a student is in fact enrolled in the district and school which they are attending.
Education Law 3202(1) provides “a person over five and under 21 years of age who has not received a high school diploma is entitled to attend the public schools maintained in the district in which such person resides without the payment of tuition.”
In a Poughkeepsie divorce, parents who lived together with the children are now often living apart and living apart in separate school districts. The question is what district must the children attend?
In a shared residential custodial case the parents can choose the district that they wish the children to reside. This should be clearly delineated in the parties Dutchess County divorce agreement. THE MAJORITY OF TIMES IT IS NOT!!! .(see http://www.counsel.nysed.gov decision no. 15,288.) In a joint custody arrangement the answer is more complicated. “Residence” for purposes of Education Law 3202 is established by one’s physical presence as an inhabitant within the district and intent to reside in the district. Longwood Cent. School District. V. Springs Union Free School Dist. 1 NY3d 385; Appeal of Sigsby, 44 Ed Dept Rep 97, Decision N. 15,109.
Most Poughkeepsie divorce settlement agreements will list a parent as the physical custodial parent for affixing child support obligations and this can often be misconstrued as picking a school district. Your agreement should spell out what school district the children will be attending and list why the parties believe they meet the test below.
The test in a joint custodial arrangement as to which school district the children must attend was spelled out in Appeal of Forde, 29 Ed Dept Rep 359 and Appeal of Cortes, Decision No. 13,818. http://www.counsel.nysed.gov .
“In those cases where the child’s time is essentially divided between two separate households and the parents both assume day to day responsibility for the child, the determination of the child’s residence must rest ultimately with the family. In such cases, the custodial parent may designate the child’s residence for purposes of Education Law 3202.”
There is no requirement that the time be equal, but rather that both parents be involved in the day to day responsibility and that the time be essentially divided between the parties. Your Dutchess county divorce agreement should spell out how each parent is participating in the day to day responsibility of the children and define how while the time is not equally split that the custodial access time is essentially divided between the parents.