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Parents accuse LAUSD of allowing out-of-area kids at high-performing Studio City school

February 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A much-sought-after elementary school in Studio City is proving too popular. Carpenter Community Charter School says parents from outside the area are committing fraud to get their kids admitted. Now the school is overcrowded.

Carpenter Community Charter School is one of the Los Angeles Unified School District's highest-performing elementary schools.

But now dozens of neighborhood parents are worried their kids won't be able to go to Carpenter. The problem, neighborhood parents say, is that families from other areas are fraudulently signing their kids up at Carpenter using bogus addresses near the school. LAUSD puts that number around 120.

School officials say as a result, last year their kindergarten enrollment jumped 32 percent, forcing them to enact an enrollment cap and possibly a lottery for this upcoming year.

With neighborhood kids possibly locked out of Carpenter, parents are fighting mad.

At a heated meeting with school district officials Thursday, parents wanted to know if the district would crack down on families lying about their addresses by taking advantage of widely used software that roots out fraudulent claims. District officials at the meeting didn't give an answer.

LAUSD officials denied requests for an interview.

Incoming parents say as Carpenter's registration deadline approaches, the district has left them hanging, wondering if their neighborhood school will be off-limits to their kids.

The LAUSD released a statement Thursday afternoon:

"During a packed meeting on Thursday, educators and administrators from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) addressed concerns of parents and guardians regarding enrollment at Carpenter Elementary, which converted to an affiliated charter school in 2010-2011.

"A team from LAUSD responded to allegations of fraudulent enrollment practices, such as using a false address to allow students who live outside residential boundaries to attend the high-performing school in Studio City.

"Administrators also explained education and District enrollment policy guidelines related to affiliated charter schools. Carpenter was a traditional LAUSD school prior to a recent conversion to an affiliated charter school.

"Carpenter's growing enrollment, and the other issues raised by parents, including verification of student addresses, will continue to be monitored by school staff and District administrators."


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