Desoto County News

Ordinance makes giving false residency information to schools illegal

After action Monday, DeSoto County Supervisors have enacted an ordinance that makes non-county residents who falsify residency information to enroll students in DeSoto County Schools a crime. The ordinance, which was originally crafted to focus on schools, will also affect other departments in the county, such as homestead exemption, court clerk’s office and land records, for example.  

As far as schools are concerned, Monday’s unanimous vote by the board means that if you try to enroll your student using misleading or false paperwork that makes it appear like you’re living in DeSoto County when you don’t, you have committed a misdemeanor.  

If you’re a resident who aids someone from out of the county in illegally enrolling a student, that person has also committed a misdemeanor.  

Board attorney Tony Nowak told the board Monday the broader scope of the ordinance was done to address possible separation of powers concerns because the DCS Board of Education is its own entity.  

The ordinance is meant to prohibit false statements to any DeSoto County “political subdivision,” such as the county, school district, but also municipality, even a volunteer fire department, for instance.  

Anyone in violation can be fined up to $500, put in jail for up to 180 days, or both, for each offense.  

Earlier this month, district Supt. Cory Uselton asked for county help after explaining that DCS investigated 700 residency complaints last school year, adding that residency checks remain a growing problem.

The ordinance goes into effect on July 17, ahead of the school year starting in August.

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