By Terry Dean
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.