School districts bringing the hammer

Foreclosures affect kids too — and one of the more interesting fallouts tied to soaring foreclosures in California and Florida is that many school districts are finding out that students no longer live where they once did. Parents, often desperate to keep their kids in better school districts, have turned to fudging their addresses in order to prevent their kids from having to go to a lesser school. From the Wall Street Journal:

Districts from Florida to California are hiring private investigators, creating anonymous tip lines and imposing penalties when they believe people have registered at false addresses. The measures often are spurred by parents who feel they pay a premium in property taxes to get their children into good schools … Last October, Palm Beach County, Fla., hired a demographer to examine student addresses full time. In March, the county set up an anonymous tip line to report suspected nonresidents. It has received at least 250 calls. Palm Beach County officials say the tips have led to dozens of students switching schools and help ensure that individual schools in the district aren’t bearing disproportionate burdens. They say they have heard of families illegally sharing homes in upscale areas that are zoned for single-family homes.

And so the age-old class debate rages on, with a modern twist. Family X uses a creative mortgage to move into a nice neighborhood with good schools, the sort of neighborhood they’d never have been able to afford to move into in the past. Family X then loses that house because of that creative mortgage, but doesn’t want Johnny X to stop going to the good school they thought they’d paid for; except they’re no longer footing the bill for that schooling. The other homeowners in the area are, and they’re none too happy about it.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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