Jailed for sending kids to a better school

Kelley Williams-Bolar is serving 10 days in jail for using her father’s address to enroll her two children in a high-performing school in a suburban district instead of her neighborhood school in Akron, Ohio. She refused the district’s demand to pay $30,000 in back tuition, claiming she lives part-time with her father.

Williams-Bolar, who said she was trying to keep her daughters safe, also runs the risk of being disqualified as a school teacher. She currently is an aide for special education classes and is near completion of a college degree that would allow her to become a teacher. Felons in Ohio can be disqualified from working as teachers.

The district says it can’t afford to educate children whose parents aren’t paying taxes in the district.

Many sympathize with the single mother’s plight, reports ABC News.

Update: Williams-Bolar was released from jail today after serving nine days. Ironically, her daughters have been living with their grandfather.

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    Unless there’s some odd geography going on, the kids’ father is in the district and presumably paying taxes.
    People will do a lot to keep their kids safe, except they aren’t allowed to if they’re poor.

  2. She isn’t living with her father. She’s living somewhere else. She lied and got TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars’ worth of services for her children. She needs to pay the money back. I’d like to live in Johnson County in a mansion, but I’m not allowed to because I’m poor… life isn’t fair.

  3. Amy in Texas says:

    The headline should read…”mom jailed for defrauding school district”. I say good for them! We have a bus stop in front of our school and kids come from far and wide with no consequences.
    If she will so easily work the system then she has no business teaching.
    This kind of subtle corruption is everywhere in my school district.

  4. Oh. So a hedge fund manager who games the system to make lots of money so she can send her children to private school is OK, but a Mom who’s desperate for her children to get out of a bad district goes to jail? I’m not in favor of sneaking kids into better districts, but get a grip people.

  5. I’m with HEM and AiT.  This is tuition fraud, and the woman absolutely deserves jail.  Also, the “sympathizers” are playing the race card; tuition fraud in Waterloo IA gets zero media attention or sympathy because the perps are white.

    The major difference between “good” schools and “bad” schools isn’t the buildings or the teachers, it’s the students.  Letting everyone from the projects send their kids to “good” schools would destroy them; this prosecution is essential to preserve them.

    Also, Richard, the father didn’t live in the district, the grandfather did.  Why not give the grandfather custody and make it legal, then?  Probably because the mother’s subsidized apartment required the kids to live with her.  It’s fraud however you look at it.

  6. L. C. Burgundy says:

    Engineer-Poet, very grand of you to believe in the sacrifice of other people’s children’s educations for the greater good. Also, the tuition fraud you linked to involved misdemeanor charges regarding college tuition, not felony charges regarding the local public schools.

    Frankly, given Ohio’s horrible history with gross inequities when it comes to public school funding, I can’t really blame this woman for gaming the system. A felony conviction is over the top.

  7. I’m absolutely against sacrificing children’s educations for the greater good.  In this case, I am against the sacrifice of Copley-Fairlawn students (and C-F taxpayers) for the sake of “racial equality” with the thugs of the Akron housing projects.

    If Akron wants to improve, let them do what’s proven to work.  School uniforms to eliminate gang insignia.  Rigid discipline and regimentation to create order.  Direct Instruction.  None of this requires a transfer or a dollar.

  8. Michael E. Lopez says:

    I’m with Aubrey on this one: the grandfather was paying taxes. I don’t see either the harm or the moral basis for fraud in this. If the school district can reclaim the tuition “loss”, then all the childless property owners in the district should be able to get back the 70% of their property taxes (I think that’s the rough level in Ohio, though it might be less since that decision five or six years ago) that they pay.

    Of course, law and morality are inconstant bed partners. The law in its magnanimity….

  9. Genevieve says:

    The tuition case in Waterloo, Iowa is weird to me because the school is a lab school at a public university. It receives state funds. Iowa is also a state where a lot of education funding comes from state aid. I still don’t understand why Iowans have to pay tuition to the school depending on where they live.

    Perhaps it is because I am from a state that requires open-enrollment (unless there are space constraints) and a large percentage of school funding comes from the state, but I just don’t understand these limitations. I am fully for vouchers, if all school districts are also required to to accept them.

  10. superdestroyer says:

    Kelley Williams-Bolar is just your ordinary street level con artist. She gets public housing, government assistance, and a tax credit by claiming the children live her. Yet, she puts them in the suburban white school by claiming they live with their grandfather.

    If you audited her taxes and other government interactions, everyone is probably fraudulent including the idea that she wants to become a teacher.

  11. If the school was the major issue, the grandfather could be appointed their guardian and the kids could live with him. I know situations where parents did appoint others – not even relatives – as guardians of their kids so they could attend certain schools and/or participate in certain athletic activities. I also know of schools that had to forfeit games – and one state championship – because guardianship was not properly transferred. It sounds as if this woman wanted to have her cake and eat it too. I’m with engineer and superdestroyer on this one.

  12. Richard Aubrey says:

    I am aware of the issues when a subdemographic of poor repute shows up in a school. The HS where my kids went had, in the first semester, sixteen fights. All between girls from the intrusive low-income housing project.
    If the school where the kids were supposed to go could be fixed–they rarely can–it surely wouldn’t be until the current students are five years beyond it.
    I understand what the mother wanted to do. I’d want to do it. By transferring guardianship, not a single dollar is affected either way. No more. No less. So it would make the thing all nice and legal and then you’d have to figure out a way to say that something all nice and legal was still rotten.
    Luck with that.

  13. You’re right, Richard. Montgomery County, MD (DC suburbs) has for decades mandated a certain amount of subsidized housing in each new development in the most affluent areas of the county) – I believe it is now referred to as “socioeconomic integration” or some such term – they’re very proud of it. I had a child in 7th or 8th grade when the first group of kids from that group hit the school and the issue you raised surfaced immediately; lots of fights, mostly within-group and both boys and girls (some with knives or similar). It was the same at the other middle and high schools and was still an issue when we left the area over a decade later. The effect was particularly poisonous on the URMs who were not in that socioeconomic group, but came from well-educated families who had been integral to the community for years. These kids were harassed as “oreos” etc to the extent that I knew families who had to remove their kids from very good public schools and send them to private ones, just to keep them away from toxic attitudes and cultural pressure against academic achievement and appropriate behavior. The parents, like the non-URM parents, had worked hard to be able to live in a nice, safe area with good schools and a small number of bad apples did their best to spoil things.

  14. The parents, like the non-URM parents, had worked hard to be able to live in a nice, safe area with good schools and a small number of bad apples a bunch of social-engineer do-gooders did their best to spoil things.

    Fixed that for ya.

  15. Strikeout tag not permitted?  How gauche.

  16. Richard Aubrey says:

    Engineer. My guess is the do-gooders’ kids don’t have the same problems with their classmates. They never do.

  17. I just wanted to make one comment about comparing this to the Waterloo case, based on what engineer poet said. At least one of the people involved is not white and is well known in the state as a former college football and a former state representative.

    So saying the Waterloo case gets no attention because the “perps are white” would be untrue.

  18. What I should have said is that there’s no obvious (and exploitable) racial angle in the Waterloo case, so the race card cannot be played and there’s no uproar from the usual interests.