Thirty students were dropped from Palo Alto public school rolls this fall after their parents were unable to verify their residency in the school district.
In a crackdown on non-residents sneaking into Palo Alto schools, the district required all incoming ninth-graders -- even those enrolled since kindergarten -- to submit fresh documentation proving residency.
"We identified about 30 enrollees who were not living in Palo Alto," Cathy Mak, the district's co-chief business official, told the Board of Education Tuesday night.
The move will save the school district about $200,000 annually over the next four years, Mak said.
She reached that number by calculating the $6,500 marginal cost of each student (about half the full per-student expenditure of $13,000) and multiplying it by the 30 students, she said.
The district has employed a part-time "residency officer" for at least three years, and each year has uncovered "several" illegally enrolled students, according to Margie Mitchell, Supervisor of Central Attendance.
The investigator knocks on doors and otherwise follows up on tips coming from neighbors, schools and other sources. Anonymous tips are pursued, Mitchell said.
A confidential message concerning suspected abuse can be left on the district's Residency Tip Hotline at 650 329-3700 ext. 7385, she said.
Palo Alto school district boundaries encompass nearly all of Palo Alto as well as Stanford University and sections of Los Altos Hills.
News of the attendance crackdown came in the context of a report on district-wide enrollment for 2010-2011, which officially stands at 12,024 -- up 3 percent over last year.
The increased headcount is concentrated in the younger grades.
Of the 344 additional students this fall, 236 are in elementary school, 48 in middle school and 60 in high school.
"We keep riding this (enrollment) roller coaster and it's going up," Superintendent Kevin Skelly told the school board.
"We're chugging up this hill and the hill seems to be getting steeper, not less steep.
"Clearly, we have to come up with more (classroom) capacity."
Ethnically, the district is about half Caucasian and half minority, Mak said.
Caucasian students comprise 50.7 percent of enrollment. Asian students make up 35.5 percent. Latino students are 10.2 percent and African-Americans are 3.1 percent, according to data compiled by the district.