Modern educational/office building on campusWe have all witnessed some very unsteady years in the American economy. Government agencies, businesses and school corporations continue to squeeze budgets where they can. And because of the need to constantly evaluate where costs can be cut, various institutions and agencies find themselves needing extra help. In fact, many school administrators now seek the expertise of private investigators like to help resolve an ongoing problem with student enrollment.

Being approached by school corporations is one aspect of private investigation which might initially be difficult for the general public to understand. But the truth is that students of all ages are very frequently enrolled by their parents in school districts where they do not actually reside. If the family lives across town but Grandma’s neighborhood school seems nicer, for example, parents might opt to use Grandma’s address when the kids are enrolled.

This might seem to be a harmless white lie based solely on parents’ hoping for their children to receive the best education possible, but actually it is a huge problem. Because of false information for enrollment, school budgets that are already overextended become nearly impossible. Most districts absolutely cannot afford to educate more students than they receive taxes to educate. That also means that in the district where a family legally resides, the school receives funding for more students than they actually have enrolled. This is unfair to everyone, from the overall school district to the tax payers.

These cases don’t normally include sophisticated technology like digital forensics or a computer forensic investigation. The private investigator might find several traditional methods necessary, from employing surveillance equipment to document residency to knocking on doors. After a number of students are identified as being enrolled in the wrong school, parents are informed about which school the children should attend.

In some situations, residency investigations reveal situations surrounding child custody. Generally, school districts are already aware of children with divorced parents and the legal custody standing of the child. However, if the courts have not ruled, there might be an on-going child custody investigation. And the schools might not be aware.

Residency investigations are just one more way that gets to the truth.

-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations