SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 4, 2013

Court upholds Swampscott school residency requirement — and $12K bill

SWAMPSCOTT — After several years of saving her money, Rosalin Martinez bought a condo in Swampscott. She sent her son to Swampscott public schools.

“I came from Cuba in the middle of the night on a boat to give him the opportunity of a good education,” said Martinez, 30.

The problem was, Martinez was actually still living in Lynn during the 2010-2011 school year, while her Burrill Street condo was being renovated to bring it up to code.

Now, the Appeals Court has ruled, Martinez owes the town $12,000, the amount the town says it cost to educate her child for a year while she lived in Lynn.

In a decision released on Friday, the three-judge Appeals Court panel upheld a Superior Court ruling that also found in the town’s favor, citing state law and a prior legal precedent (involving the Hamilton-Wenham school district) that ties public school enrollment to residency, not whether someone owns property or pays taxes in a particular district.

While school officials are pleased, Martinez is not.

“I think it is not fair what Swampscott is doing,” said Martinez. “It’s just not fair.”

She and her lawyer, David Bobrow, argued in court that it’s not fair to bar her son from attending school in a town where she not only paid property taxes but where the child’s social life was centered, pointing to youth sports, after-school activities and even trick-or-treating.

Bobrow said their stay in Lynn was temporary, while the condo was made habitable. He compared it to a situation where a family is forced out of a home by a storm.

Martinez said she and her son, now a third-grader, slept on the floor of an office on Exchange Street because the condo was not safe for them to live in. “It wasn’t safe for any kid to live there,” said Martinez, “because there was construction and dust.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Comments Tracker