OPRF denied 167 students over 'questionable' residency

Highest number turned away in years

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Oak Park and River Forest High School denied enrollment to more than 160 students for the 2013-2014 school year due to questions about their parents' residency.

It's the highest number of students denied entry in recent memory. The school also investigated its highest numbers of cases — more than 850 — last school year. 

Cases flagged involved parents or guardians failing to prove where they live. Several factors can trigger an investigation, such as parents providing improper or questionable documentation, or the school receiving a tip about a questionable living situation. 

The school's Residency Confirmation Officers (RCOs) are the main investigators; the process includes visits to homes and surveillance. 

The roughly 850 cases identified last year were more than three times the normal amount for a given year. Of those cases, about 680 were "cleared" and determined not to be in violation. A total of 167 students, however, were denied enrollment. 

In the past five years, the number of students denied enrollment was in double or single digits. The recent spike is tied to the school's upgraded residency verification process, implemented in 2012. The residency verification period takes place in April over a seven-day period for all families.

Parents and guardians are required to provide the proper documentation to the school registrar's office in order to enroll their child. The new process was piloted in spring 2012 and made permanent last year. Families unable to show up during the verification period must call the school to set up an appointment to bring in their documentation, which includes signed leases and tax bills. 

School officials note that, historically, some families would start the enrollment process but not complete it. Parents or guardians would, for instance, decide to enroll their kids somewhere else, or those students simply wouldn't show up at OPRF on the first day of school.

In all, 853 cases were flagged before last school year. By comparison, 314 were flagged before the 2011-2012 school year and 294 cases the previous year. The number of students denied enrollment was also much lower over that period. In 2011-12, for instance, only three students were denied entry. That year, 76 students ended up enrolling elsewhere while another 50 students were no-shows on the first day.

Prior to 2012, families could bring in documentation at any point during the year. When requested by the school to do so, some parents failed to do so in a timely fashion or not at all.

The one-time verification period was implemented, in part, to address that problem, school officials said. 

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no thanks from Chicago  

Posted: January 17th, 2015 1:50 PM

Most white kids are terrorized at least 4-6 times during their 4 year stint, or they were like me and attacked and viciously bullied in the stairway quarterly. I think that any family who does this should be pursued by the village for the taxes spent educating their kids they ship in from Austin after they are expelled. It is just the same mad house it has always been, where gym teachers make 130K and all the smart kids leave out of the side exits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7h30EupAn0

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 30th, 2014 12:58 PM

@ OP Res 253: I was wondering if you would consider setting up a scholarship program where a deserving family could apply to have their children attend schools in OP. I would like to see a repayment issue where the assisted family and student has to repay something to OP for the cost, in both community service and cash.

OP Res 253  

Posted: July 30th, 2014 9:39 AM

I was always a supporter of looking the other way while folks stole Algebra. If someone is willing to go to extra lengths to get their child or themselves such chance, I want to them to get it (cheaper than future cost of ignorance). And I'm sure some are walking uphill both ways for AP History, but too many are bringing the ghetto to the strong consumer drug market of OPRF. Certainly, we've got resident thugs, but we'll have to rely on other tools to weed them out.

OP immigrant from Oak Park  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 10:26 PM

We certainly are not born equal. I am actually very thankful that I can make it more equal if I work twice as hard as others in America. My children are going to be more equal and don't have to work as hard as me. I hope they never forget those qualities that brought me here and offer them a better life.

OP Immigrant from Oak Park  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 10:19 PM

Lots of immigrants move here with no money, no connection, no resources. We all know eduction is the answer to poverty, why not make it your priority? People here don't need assistance, they need endurance, perseverance, patience, hard working. If one think he/she doesn't get enough assistance in America so they can't succeed, then he/she can't succeed in anywhere else in the world.

OP immigrant from Oak Park  

Posted: July 29th, 2014 10:09 PM

Coming from a remote small town in a third world country and seen what is real poverty and hardship. I really hate to see how american people are always finding excuses for themselves. To me, education is the only way out. Resources will always come to you if you search it hard, try it hard. Living in Austin is not an excuse you can't succeed. If you care enough about education, thinking you have no money to move to Oak Park. Then work harder, save harder. Lots of immigrants came here

Former OPer  

Posted: June 29th, 2014 9:56 AM

Most districts do the residency checks starting in spring and going through summer registration. This is in prep for the new year. I don't believe these students were denied based on the recent residency days, but rather from investigations occurring during the previous summer and school year. The number is a summary of the year's activities. By the way, D97 has been doing intensive checks for many years. Unfortunately, some families are good at working the system with false IDs and addresses.

D from OP  

Posted: June 29th, 2014 7:00 AM

Does anyone know why they do this at the end of the school year as opposed to the beginning? Wouldn't the latter make more sense?

Violet Aura  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 10:51 AM

To come into a totally different learning environment may be stimulating for motivated students. For others it can be threatening and actually humiliating. A low-income parent with a housing voucher could find an apt. or house to rent in OP! I don't understand why they can't do it legally.

Violet Aura  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 10:48 AM

Cont. suburban districts, to feel dumb compared to other kids is a very real concern. I think it's the cause of a lot of behavioral problems at all ages. Studies have shown that low-income students come into kindergarten with much less background knowledge than their more affluent peers. So their vocabulary and experiences are more limited and that impacts on how they begin their assimilation of knowledge. ESL students have a more superficial understand of L2 (second language).

Violet Aura  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 10:39 AM

@Maybe: Lay off the pipe. Wow. You are spinning quite the liberal fantasy there. I can tell you right now that the bulk of the students who are there illegally have parents (mothers, usually) who want to brag that their "baby" is at OPRF. And that is the end of it. It actually doesn't do a teen any favors to be thrown into a totally foreign environment like the contrast between OPRF and the 'hood school. Especially with the educational gap that is so huge in adolescence between urban and...

Violet Aura  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 10:34 AM

Cont. child's education? If they are coming from Maywood or Austin, the chances are very high that their child will be tracked on the lower end due to a lesser curriculum in those other schools. I remember a parent from the city who was shocked to find out that her "honor roll" daughter was tracked low at OPRF. The gap was quite high. What I mean about not having to steal an education is that I graduated from OPRF and my grade point average was 1.something. My education came on my OWN.

Violet Aura from FP  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 10:31 AM

@Conflicted: No one has to "steal" an education. First of all, the assumption is that all those kids lying to get in are taking advantage of the rich educational experiences of OPRF and throwing themselves into their studies. I hate to say this but I doubt severely that this is the case. There may even be a correlation between these students and disruptions in the classroom. Why? Because having a child enrolled in OPRF may just be a status thing for some parents. Are they very active in their...

Conflicted from Naperville   

Posted: June 28th, 2014 8:58 AM

It's sad that one has to steal am education. I live in Naperville Dist 204 and they give us a hard time with proof of residency but I think it's only fair to those of us that are making the sacrifices for our children. We have kids that sneak into our district and I have reported them it needs to be something that the parent can do to give each child a quality education but stealing one is not an option


Posted: June 28th, 2014 7:58 AM

If Oak Park was along the border from Mexico our liberals would be taking down the fence and handing out goodie bags and green cards to everyone heading north.

OPRF Achievement Gap  

Posted: June 28th, 2014 7:25 AM

District 97 are you Listening? This is where the problem starts. People unfairly get in -- and these are the People that are creating the MOST problems to verify. D97 -- where is YOUR verification program?

another OP transplant  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 11:34 PM

What exactly is an equal footing ground? Maybe we both go to OPRF but my scores are higher because my dad read to me as a child and yours are lower because your dad couldn't; he was at work. Resources do not equal talent. Yes they have stark benefits but great parenting with a poor school is better than poor parenting at a great school. I went to a good school and had a good math teacher..but when I didn't get it, I got a second math class at home until I got it down. See Dr. Ben Carsons mother.

another OP transplant  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 11:26 PM

Transplant...I like you! Equal: I worked for a well known non-profit for a couple years. The fact that you met all these hard-working people day in and day out makes me question your judgement. I have had people blatantly ask me to help them cheat their way into federally funded programs. I saw several examples, repeatedly, os being abusing the system with no intention to use it I was shocked at the amount of working people we served, true, but there was NO shortage of hustling, lying & misuse

Shooting from the hip from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 2:59 PM

And you know which specific 25% of the students were investigated too....

Dreamer from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 2:38 PM

By the way,you would be amazed at the number of students that find a way around these regulations by living with an "aunt" or "grandparent" or "guardian."Many of our top athletes of the past decade were just living with families willing to lie,and claim guardianship,so a student could attend OPRF.Other districts' actually prosecute offenders and go to court to recover the money due from"theft of services."Does OPRF attempt to recover taxpayers' money?

Dreamer from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2014 2:28 PM

I ran for District 200 school board in the 90's.One of my issues was verification of residency.I received the most vile,hateful mail and phone calls;Dan Haley wrote an editorial saying " this is exactly the type of person we no longer need in Oak Park."Gradually,the school started verifying residency;first with staff,then hiring people for this purpose,then only for initial enrollment and now every student every year.Funny,I don't read Dan Haley calling the current policy "racist."

Benjamin from Oak Park   

Posted: June 27th, 2014 1:13 PM

An I interpreting this correctly, that about 25% of the students at OPRF were investigated? Anyway, students who do not reside in Oak Park shouldn't be attending Oak Park public schools, and this should be extended to middle school and elementary schools.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 3:22 PM

You are something else, OP Transplant. I argue for compassion for poor families and you accuse me of racism. I argue for compassion for homeless students and you feign shock that that homeless students in OP are predominately black. If you don't know that the homeless *family* population in OP is 99% black, you have never volunteered at PADS or had any contact with homeless children at Oak Park schools. You obviously think poverty is all a big joke and I'm done here.

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 3:11 PM

Racist? When did homeless become a race?


Posted: June 26th, 2014 3:10 PM

Maybe just got served and then played the "I meant to do that" card. Freakin' hilarious.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 3:08 PM

I know the policy, OP Transplant. But by your argument, it's racist to provide services or an education to them. Why don't they get jobs and homes? Shouldn't we hold those families to the same standards as we hold our Austin neighbors to, by your argument?

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 3:00 PM

Maybe - How about your friend follows the existing policy? http://www.isbe.state.il.us/homeless/pdf/policy.pdf

Real List  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:56 PM

WaLOP (White and Liberal Oak Parker) - Social engineering our way to a better future by spending other people's money with no accountability. (too late to trademark?)


Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:52 PM

Do you all think D97 and D200 should kick out the students from homeless families that currently attend our schools? Those families are also not paying OP taxes. Where should homeless children go to school? Or shouldn't they? Asking for a friend.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:44 PM

Bottom line: Go to school in the district in which you live. It's the law. It's really not that complicated. And criticizing the district and residents for being law-abiding is just silly.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:38 PM

I just love that special form of Oak Park racism propounded by Maybe and his/her fellow travelers. Between Maybe and the Oak Park Living Wage Warriors, you would think no one of color could ever achieve a decent paying job or a decent education without the assistance of the Great Oak Park White Liberal (insert registered trademark here). From the sounds of it, you would think CPS and its well paid teachers never existed.

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:35 PM

Maybe - No hate here...I've had the same argument with friends. And I've already acknowledged my gratitude for your pity, so no need to repeat that. Might be worth it, though, for you to peel back a corner of your self-righteousness and explore whether there might be a little truth to what I say. To expect less from any group of people is to treat them as something less than your equal.

Master of my own destiny from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:27 PM

This is fantastic news! Next we must kick out all those homeless children sucking up our resources and dragging down our test scores! And let's cut out all free and reduced lunch programs too! If their parents care enough, let them cash in their 401ks to shop at whole foods! We must stop enabling people! Let's make home OWNERSHIP requirement (renters suck), and also proof of matrimony (single people suck). Let's restore OP to its former glory starting now!


Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:19 PM

@Empathy-Neither do I.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:19 PM

@OP-Unfortunately, I don't pay the bills.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:16 PM

OP Transplant, once again you're reading everything through your own personal lens of resentment. I didn't say anyone should be held to a lower standard based on race. I specifically said that most white people also fail to rise above their circumstances, and that the middle class everywhere is disappearing. You are 100% right about one thing: I do pity you specifically. You hate the people you live among and you hate the people you came from. Must be very lonely.

Real List  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 2:13 PM

@Maybe-You have a point about the kids who maybe look at their surroundings and hop the border for what they know is better opportunity but cannot obtain. I feel bad for those kids. But the idea that it's safer for those kids at OPRF is an illusion. They still have to walk through Austin. They still have to live in Austin. How will the locals perceive the "sell-out" who thinks he/she is better than them? The short-term solution lies in improving their existing HS.

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 1:56 PM

Easy litmus test: If you see someone doing something wrong, but hold him to a lower standard because of his financial status and race, you're a bigot. You're assuming him to be capable of less, to be inferior. If you're then angry that he doesn't thank you for your lower expectations, you probably live in Oak Park.

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 1:52 PM

"We are saying it is more complex and requires insight and compassion ..." Yeah, because God forbid you should hold them to the same standards you hold yourself and your neighbors to. That would mean treating them as your equals, not as errant children who need your guidance. Mustn't drop the white man's burden!


Posted: June 26th, 2014 1:47 PM

The lack of empathy is not completely suprising. As this board has lamented, OP has become a bunch of entitled whinny beatches that think we are so much better than everyone else. When I read this article I am reminded of the saying "there but by the grace of god go I" This could be anyone of us - as circumstance change (medical bills, unemployment etc). We are not saying it is right/wrong. We are saying it is more complex and requires insight and compassion ...

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 1:46 PM

The most irritating posts start with the premise that if you're poor and non-white, no amount of effort can lead you to success. The only path to success is the benevolence of suburban liberals, who congratulate themselves for their willingness to help their poor, dark-skinned inferiors (as long as their inferiors don't get uppity and succeed on their own, and as long as they're thankful for the scraps their given.) I know you don't get it, Maybe. That's kind of the problem.

Dan Hefner from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 1:41 PM

The apologists will say "oh the parent is just trying to get their children a quality education". Bull Roar The parent is wrong for involving their children in criminal conduct and they should be referred to DCFS. The parent should be arrested and charged with fraud, theft of services, conspiracy, etc. Jail time is appropriate After all these criminals are stealing a four year education valued at about $72,000! If you do not legally reside in Oak Park or River Forest stay out of our school!


Posted: June 26th, 2014 1:27 PM

And maybe, OPDad, you don't know that. You don't know the circumstances of each of those families. Maybe some of those kids decided to come here on their own, because their parents can't/aren't making them a priority and they are desperate to escape the circumstances they were born into. We don't know, and I'm just saying let's not judge people's priorities.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 1:09 PM

Good work. If you want to go to school hear, live here. Pretty simple really. Yep, it's too bad for those 160 kids, but their parents have made something other than the kids' education the priority.

Real List  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 1:00 PM

@RQ-I see...so if it's too hard, don't even try. Words to live by indeed. Seems to have worked wonders thus far. My point is, people across this country seem to find a way to sacrifice for the things they TRULY value. That is true for all income levels. Which begs the question...is education truly valued? Pointing your child 3 blocks west does not measure personal value.

Not that easy from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 12:53 PM

@ Real List it's a nice thought about moving from Austin to Oak Park, but Oak Park does not exactly have much in the way of affordable housing for families. 1 bedroom apartments sure, but beyond that, it's few and far between. You can rent a place 3 bedroom place in Austin for less than a grand. It's typically double that in Oak Park.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 12:49 PM

No one here said we should pay to educate all of Austin. There's a big difference between verifying and taking care of the residency issue (which I'm largely in favor of) and condemning people for trying to give their kids a safer life. It seems stupid and mean to lecture poor people on morality, and tell them if they'd just stop their daily Starbucks habit they could afford to live in a neighborhood where their kids won't get shot walking to school.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 12:38 PM

@ Real Q. Again, many of the people on board were born into families with money, helped with college and provided connections. But are some how self made now - you are right - they have no idea of what it means to be poor with no mom/dad resources. This is not just poor - in corporate we call it minoirty tax. you need to be twice as smart to go half as far and many non-minority workers. to be fair, you can't expect them to understand and to say "help yourself" just like I did - joke

Real Answer from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 12:32 PM

The fact that you think OP'ers are out of touch is immaterial. The term "self preservation" comes to mind. I'm going to make sure my kids in my community are taken care of over yours in a town away 10 times out of 10. This isn't a non-profit we're running here.

Real Question  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 12:17 PM

Do you know any working poor people? Scraping together a two or three month deposit is a HUGE problem for most. They're not eating $12 sandwiches or venti iced lattes or buying extra bandwidth for their high speed internet plans. Jesus Oak Parkers are out of touch.

Real List  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 11:23 AM

How much sacrifice would it take to move from Austin to OP? Less space for higher rent, no doubt. Downsize that phone/data plan? Reduce that cable package to basic? Maybe eat out less often? More frugal shopping habits? You'd be surprised how quickly a few hundred $ can materialize at any income level with careful budgeting. I think the sacrifice is not as drastic as one might think. A short-term life change that would pay dividends for decades to come for your children.

Anna from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2014 10:35 AM

As an Oak Park taxpayer, I'm thrilled to see this happening, and I'd like to see it implemented at the elementary and middle school level ASAP. My family moved from Chicago to Oak Park specifically to get away from CPS and enroll in a better school system, and I don't want resources diverted from my children by Chicago families looking to border-jump. Our "tuition" is built into the taxes we pay, and no one who lives outside our borders should be allowed to commit fraud and get a free ride.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:13 AM

I chose to live in the oak park / river forest area so my children can go to school with other children from OP/RF. Now that we have the residency down at the high school, let's start with the elementary and middle school levels. It would most likely reverse the increased populations mentioned before.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 8:13 AM

From my mostly white, middle class HS class (80s, same size as OPRF), only one or two managed to escape up, but MOST are worse off financially-- weighed down by student loans, layoffs, mortgage crisis, medical expenses and yes sometimes bad decisions. An ever shrinking number enjoy the same financial security our parents had. No one is saying it can't be done; it's just generally not done. The middle class is dying, and the black middle class is dying faster. It's bigger than any one individual.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 7:59 AM

Maybe this isn't all about you and your personal experience and biases, OP Transplant. Public policy is better based on data, not just one person's experience. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to escape the gravity of our own circumstances. Yes, individual effort matters and can make all the difference. How are you insuring that your own kids will escape middle class and become millionaires? It happens, through individual will, so what's wrong with people who are not millionaires?


Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:38 AM

Corporations who pay $0 in taxes, people who cheat IRS, food stamp fraud, companies who pay sub standard wages - this is as much about our society today as it is parents in Austin. As the middle class erodes and the gap between haves and hav nots widens, the amount of cheating/gaming will increase.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:35 AM

@Their Name... Just wondering. Where did you pull those residency stats from? They do seem amazing... and generally hard to believe. Not doubting you. Just would lke the source.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:33 AM

The "follow the rules" comments are niave. There are many sets of rules in our society. I can assure you we dont follow the same rules as CEO of Fortune 50 company (I reported to directly). So yes, the tried to break them for their children - many of us would give our lives for our children - so trying to better for our child is not a stretch.


Posted: June 26th, 2014 6:27 AM

Again, put yourselves in the parents shoes. You likely have limited education and want better for your child. Not saying it is right - but until you walk one day in thier shoes stop hi fiving. Many of the people on this board were born into families with money, advantage and are white. To use baseball analogy. You were born on third, someone got a hit and your act like you hit a home run. Many of these kids have two strikes with two outs...

Josh from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 11:51 PM

I could care less if these kids are from Austin or Lincoln Park. You have to pay to play, so to speak. Why should others who do not pay into the system reap the benefits that the tax payers of OP pay? Let's go for the Beijing method of population. Open up OPRF to all who 'wish' to join. We'll have three students per 1 sqft of hall space. All sarcasm aside, how is this different than anything else in life? Follow the rules or face the consequences (in this case getting your kid booted).

Their Name  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 11:26 PM

@Mike-159 kids are from Oak Brook, 5 from Bannockburn, 2 from Winnetka, and 1 from Austin. Hard to believe, isn't it?

Mike Lennox from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 10:48 PM

Alot of comments in the past 24 hours.......interesting, I read this report again and no where does it say where the 160 kids were from........Think about that. And why don't people put their name on what they comment on?


Posted: June 25th, 2014 10:27 PM

No sense in romanticising the many reasons why someone would lie and send their student to a district they aren't in. Like Clancy said, you don't live there, you don't go there. I'm guessing if we had a tuition based option, we wouldn't be getting a lot of business. Rules are rules. Just because it's close by and free, doesn't make it an acceptable option, regardless of the situation.

Brian from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 10:02 PM

OP, this isn't a conservative nor liberal fault. The US woefully falls short in the myriad of programs intended to address the poor. Both parties are equally to blame. Politicians want the problem to continue so they can rant about the issues and get elected. There may be a reason that libertarians are the fastest growing party now. They are sick of the excuses each major party drums up to win support and seek to take things into their own hands. Meanwhile the race mongers keep dividing.


Posted: June 25th, 2014 8:40 PM

It is very easy for us to be gleeful that those who cant afford to live here dont get a quality education - but the reality is many of our children may not do much better. Conservatives always say the families should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Well many of these families dont have shoes - so how do they do it? Right or wrong, they are trying to make a better way for familes

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 7:23 PM

Thanks for all your pity and understanding, Maybe. It means the world to know that you feel our pain, and excuse our inevitable failure. White pity not only makes me feel better than self-determination, but it also reinforces your superiority, so everyone wins! I'd truly rather deal with flat-out racists. At least they don't veil their contempt and superiority by low expectations and permission to fail.


Posted: June 25th, 2014 7:15 PM

Good work. If you don't reside in district 200, you don't go to school there. Common sense. Thank you to those who enforce the policy.


Posted: June 25th, 2014 5:10 PM

Maybe the same person that leaves a bunch of iPads in an unlocked room.

Maybe I am, Brian!  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 5:09 PM

Did you see that story? Who the hell leaves a $4000 watch in an unlocked car?


Posted: June 25th, 2014 5:04 PM

Kind of ironic that Maybe mentions collapse of manufacturing and exporting of jobs when a couple of the major local/national issues are the "living wage" debacle (let's kill more jobs!) and the number of poor, unskilled young immigrants currently pouring over the borders (cheap labor! Chamber of Commerce and AEI are psyched!).

Brian from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 5:03 PM

Maybe seems focused on watches...


Posted: June 25th, 2014 4:55 PM

Yeah, like the collapse of manufacturing, export of jobs to cheaper countries, restrictive zoning laws that encourage segregation, dismantling of union power, closing (consolidation) of El stops (which increases transit time to jobs) in poor neighborhoods-- all had no effect on Chicago's black middle class. Blame the unwed moms. That's always worked for you in the past. There is no system. Sorry about your Tag Heuer watch.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 4:42 PM

The irony for me is the "system" folks like Equal and Maybe talk about is largely created by liberal do gooder policies that do more to create a permanent under class than give people upward mobility. Anyone who looks at how war on poverty policies have destroyed the black community can see this with the 75% out of wedlock birth rates, generational dependency, that characterize Austin and other lower income areas across the country.


Posted: June 25th, 2014 4:32 PM

Or his assumption that he is the only non-white person posting to this website. God, look at the data what has happened to Austin over the past thirty years and tell us there is no system. Look at the disappearance of the black middle class and tell people they're suddenly not working hard enough. Listen to yourself.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 4:28 PM

The real question here is why are the Chicago Public Schools are not functioning


Posted: June 25th, 2014 4:24 PM

Speaking of being condescending, you stating that we should base our entire belief structure on your one personal experience is beyond. Also the assumption that no one else commenting here possibly could have come from poverty. You're not the only one.


Posted: June 25th, 2014 4:20 PM

Furthermore, the statistics don't support any evidence that people living in poverty are just "lazy". When you give people an equal footing ground, they actually thrive. Why wouldn't you want others to do as well as yourself? It's good for everyone. If you truly believe that people just don't want to help themselves, then what should we do? Ignore them? Send them all to an island? Silence them? Take away the small amount of help they might be receiving so they starve to death?


Posted: June 25th, 2014 4:19 PM

You regularly talk about your personal experience but don't you think that it's possible your experience is the exception rather than the rule? I've worked in non-profit my entire professional career and pretty much everyone I've ever encountered is a hard-working, dedicated individual that faces serious inequalities and challenges not brought on by anything other than the results of living in an area and coming from a family history wrought with poverty.

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 4:16 PM

"The whole system..." There is no system. People aren't trying to keep us down. Mostly, they just don't care either way. There are countless ways out of poverty. The constant assertions of well-meaning liberals that those of us who are born into bad circumstances are just hopelessly screwed helps no one. White liberal pity makes you feel better about yourself, but it helps no one. Suggesting that hard work can't get you out of poverty helps no one. Your toxic condescension helps no one.

Real List  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 4:11 PM

And for those of you who think the current system is not fair, you are more than welcome to contribute your money to a scholarship fund and essentially sponsor a less fortunate, out-of-district student. I'm sure there are enough of you to do this for a handful of students. It's better than nothing. You are more than welcome to spend your money that way if you truly believe in it. Or maybe it's not as urgent an issue when it's your money.


Posted: June 25th, 2014 3:57 PM

OP Transplant, you seem pretty far removed from your service job days. Is an employer paying your salary while you post disparaging comments here toward people who can't "pull themselves up by their bootstraps"? Minimum wage jobs are no longer gateways to higher ed and higher paying gigs. They don't cover basic necessities of life. The whole system is set up to make them fail. I will spare people traumatized by living in a war zone my moral outrage.

Real List  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 3:56 PM

@Done-I agree OP is punished in more ways than one for its proximity to Austin. My point was that it was for convenience in as much as quality. The Austin parent who wakes up at 5AM daily to get their kid to Hinsdale Central or New Trier should get a gold star. That's someone truly vested in the best education for their child. But I doubt that happens. When a lesser yet more convenient option is chosen instead, I tend to doubt their true motives.

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 3:33 PM

Equal - More excuse-making nonsense. We don't need white people giving us excuses to fail. I've worked what you call "service jobs." Way easier than military service, undergrad, and grad school - eleven years of doing without before I even started working in my career. Affluent white people want to romanticize low-income people as smart, honest, hard-working folks who are being kept down by the white man. Your romanticized narrative does not match my personal experience.


Posted: June 25th, 2014 3:22 PM

By "this" I meant the comment by @op transplant


Posted: June 25th, 2014 3:21 PM

This is working under the assumption that people not making a living wage don't work hard enough. Just terrible. Most upper-middle and upper class people wouldn't last a week at most service jobs let alone a lifetime. Maybe it's not fair that people not contributing to the tax base send their children to school here, but the inequalities in education are way more unfair. It's extremely difficult to get out of poverty if you're given a subpar education.

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 3:02 PM

"Maybe parents send their kids across the border so they're less likely to get killed? I would probably do the same." Really? Is that what you'd do? Because a lot of us worked really hard so we wouldn't have to raise our kids in dangerous neighborhoods. But you're in favor of cheating other people into paying for your kid's education, because that's what you'd do. My grandmother used to say, "People don't have enough sense to be ashamed any more."

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 1:21 PM

Real - "OP should not be penalized for proximity." But it is. How many of those parents are shipping their kids to Proviso East, where they might be a better social fit? Lousy school, but since we are closer we bear the brunt. Find 'em, boot 'em out, and send them a bill for the days they did spend at OPRF - or even D97. Let me guess the percentage of those who will pay.


Posted: June 25th, 2014 1:16 PM

Maybe parents send their kids across the border so they're less likely to get killed? I would probably do the same. Keep ignoring the rampant gun violence to the east and leaving your 4000 dollar watches in your unlocked cars. We are an island. We are an island. We are an island. Repeat after me.

Real List  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 12:32 PM

@Done's New Trier example is spot on. Is it the better education or just the convenience of being right across the border that drives the Austin folks? If they truly valued the better education, they would drive up to NT or west to Hinsdale Central/South, schools that consistently rank higher than OPRF. That would demonstrate a parent truly vested in what is best for their child. Directing your child to walk 3 blocks west is lazy. OP should not be penalized for proximity.

Concerned Oak Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 11:35 AM

We have to keep those test scores high, by any means necessary. Maybe another property tax hike should be in the works, to drive out any remaining middle class families, since their kids drop the test scores a few points too.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 11:29 AM

OPT, I'd be curious how test scores change when omitting the 167 students. I'd support a scholarship for deserving students, but the gaming of the system has to stop. It isn't fair to those of us who pay exorbitant property taxes to support the school system.

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 11:17 AM

It's also worth noting that students who jump Austin often do not have the same level of academic and social preparation as the kids who came up through the OP and RF schools. The resources required to manage behavior and remediate learning deficits can make them even more expensive for the HS to educate than local kids. The district's efforts to verify residency make sense.

OP Parent  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 11:07 AM

The big problem is not money as much as it is overcrowding. Have you ever been in the hallways at OPRF in between periods? It is worse than leaving a Blackhawks game. Also, kids are made to be in classrooms with 25-35 kids. That just isn't conducive for a quality education. Getting rid of the non-residents is one part of it. Using some of that enormous surplus is another part towards smaller class sizes.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 9:31 AM

Adam - I understand your argument, but being able to send your kid anywhere isn't the way it is set up. I'd like to send my kid to New Trier, but that isn't going to happen. Yes, we penalize kids because of where the household lives and pays taxes, but until IL comes up with a better system, it is what it is. I can barely afford to live here as it is and to have my taxes go to educate a kid whose family doesn't pay taxes in OP is not acceptable to me. Keep up the good work, OPRF.

Adam Smith  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 9:01 AM

@wondering - I don't have a solution but I guess I wish there was a way as a society to help provide a decent public education to those who want one. Opening our school doors to everyone at taxpayer expense is not an answer but tossing motivated kids out the door doesn't feel right either.

Dan hefner from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 8:51 AM

The actual cost is closer to $18,000 per student. That comes to about $72,000 for each border jumper over a four year period! A crime is being committed by both the student and the parent. Prosecution to the full extent of the law seems justified. Restitution is also warranted. This criminal activity has been going on for 30 years, it has to stop.


Posted: June 25th, 2014 7:18 AM

Please, Adam, let us spend more taxpayer money on yet another layer of bureaucracy to help out people in another jurisdiction?

Adam Smith  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 6:26 AM

I have very mixed feelings. I find it troubling that families must try to steal an adequate public education for their children but also agree that District 200 taxpayers shouldn't be asked to pay for these students. Seven classrooms of students does cost more than $2.2mm. If these kids aren't disruptive, I prefer to allow a certain number of these students (based on room) and have their home city pay for the cost, a modified open enrollment model if possible.

great work  

Posted: June 24th, 2014 11:34 PM

bravo, verification team. Mike, $2.2 mil is probably just the tip of the iceberg in total cost saved.

Mike Lennox from Oak Park  

Posted: June 24th, 2014 10:32 PM

Interesting....no comments yet,so let me start. 160 times say $14k per, that is a big $2.2 MILLION. Great work for all that started this program to the investigators!!!! Keep it going!

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