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To the editor,

Mimi Carter has earned my vote for school board. After reading her letter printed here, Closing the Residency Loophole, I have decided that her obvious attention to such Broken Window issues (small, but adding up quickly) as a part of her commitment to public education in Alexandria makes her my number one District A candidate.

With two daughters in Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy, I see the cars with Maryland and D.C. license plates every day at pick-up, and have grown to resent those who perpetrate this wrong on the taxpayers of Alexandria. Not only is our $20,000 per child per year being abused by the parents of about 20 kids at Lyles-Crouch, but Im told its even worse in other schools. Mimi Carter is right; this issue is not about alien status or race; its about economics. At our school, I am 100 percent certain of six families cheating the system. Of those six families, none are Latino, two are African American and four are white. Sadly, these parents seldom appear at school to volunteer or take part in any programs, fearing exposure. We all know that one of the greatest strengths of any school is the participation of its parent community in the education of their own children, but that cant happen if some parents are never active in order not to call attention to non-residency.

This issue is not about the kids; it is simply a matter of paperwork. Beyond supplying the currently required custody paperwork, all parents/guardians registering a child for public school in Alexandria should have to show a lease or deed for their home, and they should have to do this before the start of each school year (as many hundreds of other public school systems demand.) The current option of presenting nothing more solid than a phone bill at an Alexandria address is a joke and its time has passed. Properly placing even 10 kids per year out of each ACPS school would give us many millions of dollars which Mimi Carter has suggested might be spent on tutoring to close the achievement gap or expand ESL services or provide badly needed early childhood education. When you come right down to it, we just cant afford not to ask for the right paperwork anymore.

Helen Epley
Alexandria, VA