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Decatur Schools, Mom Settle Litigation Over Residency

CSD wanted more than $42,000 in back tuition. Lisa Rudolph agreed to pay $500.

The City Schools of Decatur has settled .

Lisa Rudolph will pay $500 to CSD and both sides will dismiss all claims.

However, it's unclear whether Rudolph's three children and a foster child can continue to attend Decatur schools.

Superintendent Phyllis Edwards and CSD lawyer Deborah Golymbieski said in emails that they couldn't discuss personal information about specific students. Rudolph and her lawyer, Cynthia Wright Harrison, didn't return telephone calls and emails seeking comment.

School system policy requires students to live in the city limits with a parent or guardian to receive a free education.

CSD said Rudolph's children shouldn't attend Decatur schools because her legal residence was a house she owned in Lithonia, where she claimed a homestead exemption.

Rudolph said she and the children lived in a Talley Street condo that she purchased.

CSD wanted Rudolph to pull the children out of Decatur schools and pay back tuition -- $42,680 for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

The statement in the court file said: "CSD and Ms. [Lisa] Rudolph reached a resolution of all claims pending in the pending civil action, which included Ms. Rudolph's application for injunctive relief to permit her minor children to continue their attendance in CSD and CSD's counter-claim to recover back tuition. Ms. Rudolph to pay CSD sum of $500 and all parties dismiss all claims in the pending litigation."

In January, Rudolph's lawyer said the children were still attending Decatur schools while the case was being negotiated.

Here are other stories about residency and City Schools of Decatur.

 

What's the best way to define residency? Homestead exemptions? Drivers licenses? Tell us in the comment box below.

Ms. July 13, 2012 at 05:32 PM
She owns and maintains a residence in Decatur, and she's paying Decatur taxes which go towards schools, I don't get why they wanted back tuition considering that. She's probably doing a little funny business with her taxes for whatever reason in Dekalb, but she does own the condo. Whether anyone thinks she has a right to have that may kids in it is a separate issue.
bulldogger July 13, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Yeah, just someone else cheating......there was a similar case somewhere in the northease several years ago. She's now/was serving time.........folks, this is STEALING......my and your tax money.......these cases need to be dealt with in a severe manner so as to discourage anyone else from doing the same.
DecaturEsque July 14, 2012 at 01:53 PM
You can own property wherever you want, but considering she isnt living there with 4 kids, she should not be enrolling them in school. Lots of Decatur kids "live with their grandma" and then get picked up by their parents and go home outside of district. They think having a dresser and staying over once a week constitues "residence" and it does not. Decatur needs a dedicated residency team and needs to enforce a more clearly defined policy. Any questionable situation should warrant observation or even home visits (seriously). We endure overcrowding and "learning cottages" while we are paying for a LOT of out of district kids cheating the system whose relatives are renting properties where they do NOT pay taxes (which us fine if no one is cheating the system). I know this from my work with the system. In the wake of the failing and corrupt APS system, we need to start questioning CSD repeatedly to make sure our kids arent being crowded out by out of district kids.
Decaturette July 15, 2012 at 12:53 AM
How do you know she and the kids aren't living there in the Decatur condo? I'm not challenging you just wondering how you know. I would think that a secret daily two-way commute to/from Lithonia with 4 kids would be hard to pull off. I looked in the school directories and the 4 kids are in high school and middle school and the 4/5. Do we really think all of them are keeping a big secret about where they live? But 5 people in a one bedroom condo seems a bit implausible too. On the other hand, that's how most off-campus college and grad students live--2-3 persons per room. Maybe it's a roomy condo with a sunporch? And if the Dad died in the last few years, it's plausible that the family needs to cut back on costs, rent out the house until it can sell, and live in cheaper digs. I completely agree that CSD must be consistent and not allow cheating. I'm just not sure yet that there's cheating of CSD as opposed to a homestead exemption in Lithonia that shouldn't be claimed. Maybe the full story will come out soon.
Selina Thompson August 22, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Curious, if you rent or own a property in the zone but spend a few nights a week away...well, what constitutes "residency"? What about people who own and travel a lot for work? What about people who own/rent and have to go stay with ailing parents for months at a time? If you are renting a property that enables the land owner to keep and pay taxes are you not contributing your share?

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