1,500 OPRF families pass through school residency check

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Oak Park and River Forest High School estimates that it checked the addresses of 1,500 families during last week's residency verification process.

The goal was to check every family during this first-year pilot of the school's new verification process, said Principal Nathaniel Rouse.

All parents and guardians with students attending OPRF were required to bring in the proper documentation. This is the first time the high school required every parent to verify where they live all at the same time. Residency checks began last Friday and wrapped up on Tuesday. Mike Carioscio, OPRF's chief information officer, said the school saw about 1,500 by Monday. The school anticipated seeing 2,000 families, which Carioscio expected to reach.

Any parents who did not come in during this verification period will have to call and make an appointment to come in, said Cheryl Witham, OPRF's assistant superintendent for finance and operations.

In past years, families would bring in documentation at various points during the school year, which led to a sloppy process to verify addresses, according to school officials. Along with cleaning up the process, the school wants to make sure only those families who live in Oak Park or River Forest have kids enrolled at the school.

Check stations were set up near the main Scoville entrance inside the building in the Student Center. School staff was on hand to check documents while parents waited. Cindy Kosydor, a parent of an OPRF freshman, got her documents back after about 15 minutes. Rouse said the whole process takes about 10 minutes.

Kosydor said the process for her was smooth and efficient.

"I'm very impressed on how it went. This is a real thorough process," she said.

Carioscio said the feedback was mostly positive from parents. Some parents did express concerns about the type of information they'd have to turn over.

"These were very legitimate concerns and we respect those concerns. We made sure to tell people, we don't want your bank account or any information like that. And they were able to redact any information right here. All we're looking at is residency."

Kosydor said she didn't have any concerns about the documentation the school asked for. Those documents include leases or utility bills. Carioscio said the school will report back to the board later this spring on how the verification process went. The board will decide whether to continue with this process beyond this pilot year.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

Reader Comments

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Posted: September 4th, 2013 8:14 AM

Residency Verification - OPRF - So what was the outcome? More enrollment, on the mark, less enrollment? When D97 did theirs they reported 200 families did not comply with the documentation by the deadline. What was the picture here?


Posted: April 17th, 2013 3:30 PM

drmr-Perhaps you can contact Dan via your CompuServe account.

drmr from Oak Park  

Posted: April 17th, 2013 1:50 PM

When I ran for a seat on the District 200 board in the 1990's,one of my main issues was the number of non-residents attending OPRF.None other than Dan Haley himself,in a bitter article,called me a racist and bigot and not fit to run for office in Oak Park.I am glad to see the high school finally addressing this long-neglected situation,but am still waiting for an apology from Mr. Haley and the editorial staff at Wednesday journal which viciously attacked me in their non-endorsement.

Marty Bracco from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 17th, 2013 12:46 PM

Dan, your comments are on target. I, too, was prepared to be less than enthusiastic about this very necessary process. My expectations were greatly exceeded, thanks to a very efficient, friendly group of staff and volunteers. The table of cookies and coffee gave me a thought...I'm sure there is a local business out there willing to "sponsor" this process next year. They can provide food & drink in exchange for a captive local audience.

Preschool parent  

Posted: April 17th, 2013 11:16 AM

We're going through the registration process with D-97 right now for our oldest and finding the proving residency with so many multiple forms of ID to be unreasonable. Entirely too much red tape and we need to work to reduce the amount of hoops families have to jump through to get their kids basic school services. Public school access needs to be easy, not annoying.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: April 17th, 2013 10:24 AM

I was prepared to be all grumpy over this process, though I support the goal of checking residency more thoroughly. But I was won over by the speed of the process and the friendliness of the staffers. Most of the people working the computers I recognized as retired OP cops. So nice job OPRF in quelling my natural grumpy impulses.

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 17th, 2013 10:11 AM

The high school did a great job making sure that this potentially arduous, but essential, process went smoothly. I was through in less than ten minutes, and the staff could not have been friendlier.

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