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Arizona School District Residency Requirements

With the new school year quickly approaching it’s that time when many districts are performing their annual registration process. In September 2011, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) issued a memo with guidelines on how to comply with A.R.S. §15-823(J) which allows districts to only include students who reside in Arizona in their student counts. The purpose of these guidelines is to help ensure that tax dollars collected from Arizona residents is spent on students who reside in Arizona.

A.R.S. §15-802(B) requires school districts to obtain and maintain verifiable documentation of residency in Arizona for all students.  In the September 2011 memo, ADE clarified that this documentation “must be provided each time a student enrolls in a school district or charter school in this state, and reaffirmed during the district or charter’s annual registration process via the district or charter’s annual registration form.”

It is important for districts to comply with these documentation requirements and ADE has indicated that they may audit schools to ensure that only Arizona residents are being included in student counts. For any school district that is not able to demonstrate compliance to the residency requirements they may be required by ADE to repay the state aid received for that student.

All districts should be working to obtain the required documentation during their enrollment process so they can demonstrate to ADE that all students that are being included in student counts are residence of Arizona. The memo and documentation form can be located on ADE’s website at the following link: http://www.azed.gov/finance/files/2011/10/arizona-residency-guidelines.pdf

Jeff Patterson, CPA