The Outcome and Future of the Re-registration Process

In or out? The process of re-registration may remove some students from Staples High School| Photo-graphic by Petey Menz '11 and Stevie Klein '12

This summer, the superintendant’s office  was busy conducting a re-registration process for all incoming freshman,  to make sure that each student was a Westport resident.

According to Jenny Robson, Administrative Assistant to Superintendent, the district’s motivation behind the re-registration process was not due to of the suspicion that non-resident students were attending Staples, but rather a response to similar procedures in other towns.

The goal of the re-registration process was to make sure that all students entering Staples were legitimate Westport residents. Another aim of the process was to verify all contact information. Until students registered they were not able to take part in orientation.

“As a responsible organization, we owe it to Westport residents to guarantee that only students who live in Westport attend Staples,” Assistant Principal Richard Franzis said.

Robson agrees that there is a certain responsibility to keep up. Even though it is important that every child receives an education, there is a fine line between the goals of education and the district’s obligation to the taxpayers of Westport.

“Every student in the system costs tax payers money. The state of Connecticut says that it is not okay for someone to be using Staples to get a free education and have Westport tax payers paying for it,” Robson said.

Most of the feedback from Westport residents about the re-registration concluded that people appreciated the district’s attempt to make sure only Westport residents were benefiting from the public education.

Robson said that it was an overall success but it is difficult to predict whether the re-registration process will be an annual event. Executing this process takes a lot of staff as it is an extremely labor intensive process. Ideally, this process would take place as students enter middle school as well as high school. However, this would need twice the staff and twice the work.

There is no straight answer about exactly how many students were found attending Westport schools without registration. There were a few students who did not register, but each year there a number of students who don’t return to school for a variety of reasons. Because of this, it is hard to tell whether the students who did not register were Westport residents, or if they were not planning to return in the first place.

One benefit of re-registration is the opportunity for some teachers to meet the incoming students as they come into register during the summer.

Additionally, this process provides an update on all the “eschool” computer data that is initially entered when a student begins kindergarten. There is a good chance that some part of a student’s contact information has changed since then. Renewing this information ensures that everything is correct when a student enters high school.

This year’s re-registration process has been thought of as a success, but it is still up in the air whether the program will continue.