October 29, 2012

Family Encounters “Multiple Occupancy Registration”

After a homeschooling family moved to the Springfield School District from New Jersey and filed their affidavit to conduct a home education program, the district’s director of educational services informed them that they were required to complete a “multiple occupancy registration.” According to the school official, this registration was necessitated by the fact that the family was living in a home owned by someone else. In essence, the registration was intended to verify that the family actually resided within the geographical boundaries of the school district.

The instructions provided to the family stated that they had to complete and submit two notarized forms: an Application for Multiple Occupancy Registration and a Certification of Multiple Occupancy. Additionally, the parents were instructed to present themselves at the district office, along with the homeowner, and submit two forms of proof of residency and identification. When the parents questioned this procedure, the director of educational services cited language from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website on home education, stating, “If the family is from out-of-state, … the school district may reasonably ask for proof of residency, since the affidavit is to be presented to the superintendent of the district of residency.”

When the family contacted Home School Legal Defense Association for assistance, Senior Counsel Dewitt Black wrote the school official and pointed out that state law requires the parent conducting a home education program to file a notarized affidavit containing a sworn statement of the family’s address. No other information or documentation relating to a family’s residence is required. Black informed the official that because the family had fully complied with state law in what had already been submitted to the school district, they respectfully declined to complete the multiple occupancy registration. As a result, the school district notified the parents that they did not have to submit any additional information about their residency.