After a round of bidding late last year failed to yield a winning candidate in District 91’s search for an investigator to verify students’ residency, the district is again soliciting applications for the job. The board of education in the K-8 public school district voted earlier this month to accept applications for a new residency investigation contract until July 9.
“We didn’t want the superintendent, whoever it was, working on this themselves,” board President Glenn Garlisch said.
Originally, a discussion with retiring Superintendent Randolph Tinder last September revealed the administrator was spending a fair amount of time trying to verify where suspected border jumpers actually lived. Tinder suggested to the board that it may want to outsource the job.
A pair of bids was collected by mid November and each firm was given a case to work on. In April, the board opted not to hire either applicant, and according to Garlisch, decided to reopen the selection process now that a new superintendent had been hired.
Tinder is set to retire from the administrative post on June 29 and Lou Cavallo, who was officially voted in as his replacement in February, will take over on July 1.
“We could have gone with one of those two (original applicants), but we said let’s take a step back and see what the new superintendent has to say,” Garlisch said.
While the issue of suspected border jumping became a hot topic in Forest Park during the early part of the recent school year, the problem may be trending downward. Tinder has said that the number of students suspected of living outside of Forest Park and sneaking into classrooms here in recent years has been less than .5 percent of the student body. Consistently, about one-third of those referrals are confirmed as border jumpers.
Incoming superintendent Lou Cavallo agreed that the district should contract an agency or an individual whose sole responsibility will be to investigate suspected border jumpers. The process is time consuming and regardless of the outcome of any given inquiry, families generally don’t appreciate being suspected of wrongdoing, Cavallo said. Asking a district employee to conduct investigations and also to work with families or students in some other capacity simply creates awkward situations.
“There’s a lot of ill will that goes along with it,” Cavallo said. “I don’t want to have that type of relationship with the families.”
Since reopening the bidding process, District 91 has received one new application, according to administrators. Those firms that placed bids in 2006 will still be considered for the job, Garlisch said.