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Parents of Alicia Kozakiewicz may owe Carlynton because of residence in the city

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

By Carmen J. Lee, Post-Gazette Education Writer

Officials of the Carlynton School District are trying to determine if the parents of Alicia Kozakiewicz should pay tuition because their daughter attends school there even though she does not live in the district.

Carlynton Superintendent Elaine Brown said she learned that Alicia was not a resident of the school district after the New Year's Day incident in which the girl disappeared from her Crafton Heights home, prompting a massive search by local and federal authorities.

Alicia, 13, was found restrained in a townhouse in Herndon, Va., where she had been taken by Scott W. Tyree, 38, a man whom she had met on the Internet.

Brown said the Kozakiewicz family had not made arrangements to pay tuition for Alicia to attend school in the district, which includes Carnegie, Crafton and Rosslyn Farms boroughs. Charles Kozakiewicz, Alicia's father, maintains an apartment in Crafton, because the couple had recently been separated.

But the family's home on Berry Street where Alicia resides is in the city's Crafton Heights neighborhood. That means Alicia should be attending Greenway Middle School in the Pittsburgh Public Schools district.

Charles Kozakiewicz declined to comment.

Alicia's case is still being evaluated, so Brown said she could not comment on how it would be handled. But the superintendent, who joined the district five months ago, said when she was hired she had made it a priority to audit student records for residency because the district is facing financial problems.

While not addressing Alicia's case specifically, Brown said that if students are found not to be residents of the district, their parents will be billed for what the district spent to educate the youngsters since they enrolled.

If the nonresident families choose to withdraw their youngsters from Carlynton schools, then they will have to pay the amount they owe the district up to the date of withdrawal, Brown said. If they decide to keep their children in the district, they will be required to pay what they owe as well as tuition for the remainder of the time the students are enrolled there.

Brown did not know how long Alicia had been attending Carlynton schools and she did not have a current cost for educating a student.

According to Beth Gaydos, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, Carlynton School District spent $8,611 per pupil in the 1998-99 school year, the most recent year for which figures were available.

Staff writer Johnna A. Pro contributed to this report.

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