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Residency

In both Connecticut and New York, local and regional boards of education are statutorily required to provide free school accommodations to each child who is a permanent resident of the school district and is between the ages of 5 and 21 years old, provided they have not graduated high school. If residency issues arise, your child’s school district has the right to exclude him or her from attending school if it is determined through a formal hearing, that your child resides in another district.

 

Where will my child be deemed a resident if I am a divorced parent?

Questions may arise when you are a divorced parent and your child spends equal time residing at each parent’s home. Under these circumstances, your child will be able to attend school in the school district in which either parent resides.

If your child confirms living with both parents, it is likely that the school board would allow you to choose the school district your child will attend even if your child may only spend half the time in that residence.

 

What if my child lives with other family members or friends?

There are circumstances in which your child may maintain residency and attend school in a school district in which neither one of his or her parents resides.

Such residency must be intended to be the permanent residency of your child. The State has set forth certain factors that may be relevant in determining whether this residence is in fact intended to be your child’s permanent place of living:

  • Where the majority of your child’s clothing and personal possessions are located; Issuance of a library card;
  • Where your child may attend religious services;
  • Place of club affiliations (e.g. cub scouts, boy scouts, etc.)
  • Where your child spends substantial time when school is not in session
  • The place where your child would go if he or she left or was not permitted to attend school.

In New York, a non-parent who is not a legal guardian or custodian but has assumed caregiving responsibilities, referred to as a kinship “de facto” custodian, may enroll a student if he or she is designated as a “person in a parental relation” by the parent of a student.

If the kinship “de facto” custodian lives in a different school district than the child’s parent or legal guardian, he or she will also have to prove residency. If the parent or legal guardian cannot be found, it may be possible to enroll the child after proving residency by affidavit.

 

What type of documentation may I need to produce in order to establish my child’s residency in a particular town or school district?

Your child’s board of education may require a parent, guardian, relative or non-relative, emancipated minor, or pupil 18 years of age or older to provide documentation such as; copies of deeds, rental/lease agreements, tax bills, utility bills, driver’s license, and voter registration cards.

Furthermore, a signed affidavit may be requested by the school district in which your child attends school to assist in determining your child’s permanent residency.

What if my child’s home is located on a town boundary line?

If your child resides in a dwelling (single, two or three family house or condominium unit), physically situated within the municipal boundaries of more than one town, he or she will be considered a resident of each town and may attend school in either school district. However, the town line must actually bisect your child’s dwelling edifice and not just the real property.

What is the process if my child’s residency status is challenged by the school district?

In Connecticut, if your child’s board of education denies school accommodations to your child based on residency, they must inform you as a parent of your due process right to a formal hearing and the basis for their conclusion that your child is ineligible for those particular school accommodations.

In New York, a school board or designee may only return a negative determination regarding residency after the person in parental relation to the student is afforded the opportunity to submit evidence concerning the student’s right to attend the school district.

 

Do I have the right to appeal a decision made by my child’s local board of education?

In Connecticut, you may appeal to the State Board of Education the decision of your child’s local board of education regarding its initial finding concerning your child’s residency status. Please note, that if an appeal is not taken to the State Board of Education within twenty (20) days of the mailing of the finding of the initial hearing, the decision of the local school board shall be final.

In New York, if a negative determination is reached at the initial hearing, a written notice must be provided within two (2) business days to the person in a parental relationship to the student. Your petition for an appeal may also include a request for stay, which would allow your child to attend school while your case is decided.

Maya Murphy P.C. was proudly included in the 2024 Edition of Best Law Firms®, ranked among the top firms in the nation. In addition, Managing Partner Joseph C. Maya was selected to The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for his work in Employment Law and Education Law in Connecticut. Recognition in Best Lawyers® is awarded to firms and attorneys who demonstrate excellence in the industry and is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor.

Our firm in Westport, Connecticut serves clients with legal assistance all over the state, including the towns of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Bethel, Branford, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Darien, Derby, East Haven, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Monroe, Naugatuck, New Canaan, New Fairfield, New Haven, Newton, North Branford, North Haven, Norwalk, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Redding, Ridgefield, Seymour, Shelton, Sherman, Southbury, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Weston, Westport, Wilton, and Woodbridge. In addition to assisting clients in Connecticut, our firm handles education law matters in New York as well.

If you have any questions about education law in Connecticut or would like to speak to an attorney about a legal matter, please contact Joseph C. Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com to schedule a free initial consultation today.