Decatur Superintendent David Dude and former Decatur Mayor Elizabeth Wilson. Dude is the city’s 10th superintendent since 1902 while Wilson, as a parent in the mid-1960s, helped desegreate the school system. Courtesy of Facebook

Decatur won’t create a position to monitor out-of-district students

During an interview with the AJC this week Decatur Superintendent David Dude said he doesn’t anticipate creating a position to both monitor out-of-district students illegally attending the city’s schools and enforce their removal.

The system’s K-12 enrollment, which reached an all-time high of 5,328 in late September, has more than doubled in the past decade. But even before growth began exploding, rumors persisted about residents outside city limits sneaking their kids into schools.

After 25 months on the job, however, Dude said he’s convinced this is more perception than reality.

“Since I’ve been here,” he said, “I can’t think of anyone we’ve had to boot out. I think its blown out of proportion. When we get a tip and check it out, the student always turns out to be a resident.”

This hasn’t always been the official thinking. In Oct. 2015, under the recommendation of his predecessor Phyllis Edwards, the board approved a full-time staff position to monitor out-of-district students. Five months into his tenure (March 2016) Dude reversed this decision and hasn’t changed his mind since.

“If a kid is from out of district, then they’re not paying city taxes,” Dude said this week. “I totally get why it’s a concern. But I just don’t think it’s prevalent.

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