Statute 167.020, of the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo), states that a child is entitled to attend school where the child resides and is domiciled, and that "the domicile of the minor child shall be the domicile of the parent or court-appointed legal guardian..."
- Exceptions to Statute 167.020, RSMo.
The residency requirement defined in 167.020 does not apply to students:
- That are homeless.
- That are participating in an interdistrict transfer program established by a court order.
- That are wards of the state and have been placed in a residential care facility by state officials.
- That have been placed in a residential care facility due to a mental illness or developmental disability.
- That have been placed in a residential facility by a juvenile court.
- That have a disability identified under state eligibility criteria if the student is in the district for reasons other than accessing the district's educational program.
- That are attending a regional or cooperative program or an alternative program on a contractual basis.
- That are non-residents attending school in an adjoining district due to a transportation hardship as defined in section 167.121.
- That are residing in a school district with someone other than a parent or court-appointed guardian because they are orphaned, have only one parent living, or are self-supporting and are unable to pay tuition pursuant to 167.151.
- Determining Residency
- Denial of Student Enrollment - Safe Schools Act
A student may be denied enrollment if:
Within five (5) days of the request for a proof of residency waiver, the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee, after a hearing, determines the student poses an immediate danger. The student’s discipline record indicates that he/she is currently suspended or expelled from another school, including a private, parochial, charter or out-of-state school, and the enrolling school would have suspended or expelled the student for the same offense. The student has been removed from school because the student was charged with or convicted of certain felonies listed in section 167.171, RSMo. However, this provision does not prohibit a school district from enrolling the student in an alternative education program. School officials must also be aware of the law as it applies to students with disabilities. The student has not met the state’s immunization requirements for entering school.
How will the district know if the student attempting to enroll poses an immediate danger or is ineligible to enroll in accordance with the Safe Schools Act?
- At the time of registration the district should require the parent, guardian or student to provide a sworn statement or affirmation indicating whether the student has been expelled from another school for violations of school policies relating to weapons, drugs, alcohol or intentional acts resulting in injury or acts which, if committed in another state, would have resulted in expulsion. The registrant should be informed that knowingly making a false statement could result in his/her conviction of a class B misdemeanor. The registrant should also be informed that the statement or affirmation will be kept as part of the student’s education record.
- The enrolling school district is required by law to request the education and discipline records of the student enrolling within two business days of the request to enroll. The responding school district has five days in which to comply with the records request. With the passage of SB 944 in 2000, superintendents or chief school officer equivalents in charter and non-public schools have the responsibility of forwarding written notification of the disposition of any juvenile case involving a crime enumerated in subsection 1 of 167.115, RSMo to any public, private, parochial, or charter school to which a student transfers. See section 167.023, subsection 7 in section 167.020 and section 167.115, RSMo.
What happens if the district finds out that a signed statement or affidavit of residence contains false information?
Anyone who knowingly falsifies a statement of residence is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. The district may file a civil action for the purposes of recovering the costs of school attendance. See subsections 4 and 5 in section 167.020, RSMo.
You may find it helpful to address the question of residency by using the following three-step model:
Is the child living in the district with a parent, military guardian, or court-appointed legal guardian?
- If yes, the child is a resident of your district and you must enroll (barring the suspension/expulsion issue).
- If no, continue to Step Two.
Pursuant to the Safe Schools Act, subsections 1 and 6 section 167.020, RSMo. is there another reason why the district is required to enroll the child?
- If the child meets criteria addressed in subsection 2 in section 167.151, RSMo. the child is entitled to attend school in the district and is counted for purposes of state aid.
- If the child does not meet Step One or Step Two, the child may still be eligible to attend school in the district as noted in Step Three.
Does the proof of residency waiver provision apply (for example, is this a Horton v. Marshall situation)?
- If the child applies for a proof of residency waiver and is eligible to register because of a hardship or for good cause, then the child attends school without paying tuition.
- If the child is determined not eligible, then he/she must pay tuition in order to attend.
- Using Social Security Numbers for Enrollment
Section 7 (a) of the federal Privacy Act of 1974 addresses the use of social security numbers by federal, state, or local governments (including school districts) and states the following:
"It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State or local government agency to deny to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of such individual's refusal to disclose his social security account number."
This section goes on to provide two exceptions to the provision: (1) where the disclosure which is required by Federal statute, or (2) where disclosure relates to records that pre-date the adoption of the Privacy Act of 1974 (January 1, 1975), if such disclosure was required under statute or regulation adopted prior to such date to verify the identity of an individual.
If these exceptions do not apply, then the agency which requests the social security number shall inform that individual whether disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority such number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it.
In summary, it is not a violation for the school district to ask for disclosure of the social security number, as requirements of the act are met. In most situations this would require notice that the disclosure is voluntary, a statement outlining why the number is requested and a description of how the information is to be used. Since refusal to disclose a social security number cannot be grounds for exclusion from a program, then the school district must be prepared to substitute an alternative number as an identifier.
Additional information regarding the disclosure of social security numbers is available on the U.S. Social Security Administration's website.