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OSSE Moves Forward on Non-Resident Enforcement

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
District of Columbia school enrollment audit complete, non-resident students identified

Washington, DCEvery year the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) contracts an independent auditor to conduct an annual student enrollment audit in DC. As part of the audit, the independent auditor reports the number of students whose residency could not be verified at the time of the audit. Specifically, the report identifies non-resident students enrolled in DC Public Schools (DCPS), Public Charter Schools (PCS) and Non-Publics (private special education schools or programs). Additionally, the report identifies how many non-resident students have been assessed and paid tuition.

Following the formal audit, OSSE provides an appeals process for all LEAs. The appeals panel is comprised of three individuals (two OSSE staff members and one member of the Deputy Mayor for Education staff). The appeals information is collected and shared with the auditor who meets with the panel to review each individual case. Based on the careful review of this information, the OSSE enrollment audit appeals panel makes final determinations. These final determinations are shared with each school prior to the release of the final audit numbers.

“Education is free, but not without cost,” said State Superintendent Hosanna Mahaley, noting that Maryland and Virginia residents attending public school in the District place an unfair burden on DC taxpayers.

“This process is not punitive as much as an opportunity to reassure District residents who are paying taxes in DC and playing by the rules.”

OSSE is investigating students whose residency could not be verified to ensure that payments are made. In the event of non-payment, OSSE will make referrals to the DC Attorney General for collection and prosecution. The final audit report includes the following information about the number of students whose residency could not be verified at the time of the audit.

The chart below breaks down the specific numbers for the District:

Non-Resident Comparison





Non-Public Schools


Total Enrollment





Non-Resident Enrollment





Paying Non-Resident Students





Non-resident students who did NOT pay tuition (and % makeup of total enrollment)

126 (0.3%)

32   (0.1%)

118 (6.9%)

276 (0.35%)