Sunday, August 31, 2003

Family in the wrong district

Move put children in different school

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP - This was supposed to be Philip Godsey's big year at Fairfield Senior High School.

Not only was he looking forward to attending Homecoming and Senior Prom, he was looking forward to helping his sister Sarah, 15, a sophomore who uses a wheelchair, get around.

But now the 17-year-old senior doesn't know where he will go to school, because the family's new Tylers Creeks home is in the Hamilton school district, just outside the Fairfield schools' boundary.

For now, his mom plans to home-school him until she asks the Fairfield Board of Education for help at its meeting Thursday.

"I don't know any other way than the Fairfield way. It's my home," Philip said Saturday. "I'm really looking forward to going to prom with my classmates. I've never gone before."

Last month, his family moved into the townhouse - one of a few units built specifically to accommodate residents with special needs - only to learn their unit falls in the Hamilton side of the complex.

Tylers Creeks management could not be reached Saturday.

His parents - both Fairfield High School graduates - say it is a mix-up. They say they asked the complex manager if their townhouse was in the Fairfield district because they didn't want their children to change schools and were erroneously told it was.

"We tried to make sure it was in the Fairfield schools, or we wouldn't have moved (from another part of Fairfield Township)," Mrs. Godsey said.

Butler County Commissioner Michael Fox has sent a letter to Fairfield Superintendent Robert Farrell protesting his decision not to grant an exemption to the Godseys."Aside from it being heartless, it's just stupid," Fox said. "Schools are supposed to keep the interest of the child central to their mission. There's no reason on earth those children should go through the disruption."

In an e-mail to Fox, Farrell said he would consider enrolling the Godseys if he received assurance this week they would move into a unit in the Fairfield side of the complex.


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