Today, OSSE issued the following statement regarding administration process for Duke Ellington School of the Arts families identified as non-residents.
Following the investigation of residency verification at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (“OSSE”) referred 164 cases of suspected residency fraud to the Office of Attorney General (“OAG”) for further investigation into potential civil claims, in accordance with District law. OSSE’s investigation included a review and investigation of enrollment forms, student files maintained by the school, and publicly available electronic records.
OSSE is now prepared to move forward with administrative enforcement on these cases as well as other cases from Ellington that required additional investigation. OSSE is notifying Ellington families, in writing via regular and certified mail at their address on record, of their right to administrative review. These families will have 10 days from the receipt of the letter to choose one of the two options: 1) contest the findings through an administrative review before the Office of Administrative Hearings; or 2) accept the finding of non-residency and make payment arrangements for the non-resident tuition owed for the 2017-18 school year. If a family fails to respond to the letter within 10 days, OSSE’s non-residency finding will become a final agency decision, tuition for the year will be owed for the period of time in which the student was enrolled but was not a District resident, and OAG may file a lawsuit under the False Claims Act.
OSSE will not require the exclusion of students for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year. In addition to the 164 families referenced above, OSSE has 167 other cases at various stages in the administrative process.
OSSE will continue to work closely with OAG as it engages in the administrative process regarding non-residency findings for the Ellington families as well as families at other schools identified as non-residents in the enrollment audit. OAG may move forward with its own investigation of these cases in addition to and unrelated to the administrative action by OSSE.