Over the course of the year, this office receives many inquiries when a school district has alleged that a student is not a legal resident.

Many parents are reluctant to spend money to hire an attorney. They try talking to the district themselves, perhaps even attending a hearing without an attorney.

In most cases, this is a serious mistake.

Most parents do not understand Illinois school residency law well enough to help themselves. Even an attorney who is not well versed in school law, can commit well-intentioned blunders. Explanations that seem to make sense such as “I sent my child to live with my mother” or “I own rental units in that district” are not a defense.
Sometimes a situation seems odd to the school but is perfectly legitimate. Parents may not realize the lawful basis for their child’s residency and instead rely on evidence that is at best irrelevant and at worst harmful.

Parents must be aware that once the child is on the district’s radar, it’s very hard to get them off. The district may be relying on investigator’s reports or even something your child said at school. If you try to explain, the district may still see what it wants to see—a residency fraud.

Speaking to the school yourself may also make your attorney’s job harder as the attorney must now undo the damage.

If have a school residency issue, contact an experienced school law attorney immediately. An attorney can help present your situation in its most favorable light. Even if your child is not a lawful school resident, an attorney can help negotiate a settlement with the district.

If you have questions about this or another related school matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)