“Residence” is the primary place where a person dwells permanently, not temporarily, and is the place that is the center of his or her domestic, social, and civic life. Temporary residence in the Northampton, solely for the purpose of attending a Northampton public school, shall not be considered residency.
In determining residency, Northampton Public Schools reserves its right to request a variety of documentation and to conduct investigation into where a student actually resides. Because residency can, and does, change for students and their families during the course of the academic year, Northampton Public Schools may continue to verify residency after the commencement of classes. Also, Northampton Public Schools may act upon anonymous tips it receives to conduct a residency verification investigation.
As part of the enrollment process, the Parent or Guardian will fill out a Registration Form for each student. This is a necessary prerequisite to the verification of residency. According to Massachusetts law, only those students who are actually living in the City of Northampton and who have an intention of remaining in the City of Northampton are eligible to attend the Northampton Public Schools. Massachusetts General Law c. 76, §5 allows the School Committee to obtain the full cost of any student’s education from any adult who enrolled a student in the Northampton Public Schools, knowing that the student was not a resident.
NPS may utilize a variety of means and/or support staff to verify an individual’s residency e.g. correspondence, telephone calls, and home visits by the Attendance Officer or other school staff. The NPS has the right to seek restitution/relief from parent or legal guardians, on behalf of the taxpayers of the City of Northampton, if they are found to have assisted in perpetrating fraud upon the NPS by misrepresenting the residency/sleeping situation of students attending NPS.
Northampton Public Schools has a legal right to recover the costs of educating each child which may include services for transportation, special needs, etc. up to and including the costs of legal action.
Before any student is assigned or invited to attend a Northampton Public School, his/her parent or legal guardian must provide the following required proofs of primary residency as part of their registration process. Applications cannot be processed without these documents. A photo ID plus these documents are required for any new student enrollment or to file a change of address.
Examples of documents proofing residency:
- A Utility Bill (gas or electric) dated within the past 30 days
- A Deed or Mortgage statement dated within 30 days, or a Property Tax Bill dated within 1 year
- A current Lease, Section 8 Agreement, or Landlord Affidavit
- A W2 form dated within the year or a Payroll Stub dated within the past 30 days
- A Bank or Credit Card Statement dated within the past 30 days
- A Letter from an Approved Government Agency* dated within the past 30 days
*Approved government agencies: Departments of Revenue (DOR), Children and Family Services (DCF), Transitional Assistance (DTA), Youth Services (DYS), Social Security, any communications on Commonwealth of Massachusetts Letterhead. This residency policy does not apply to homeless students.
Residents of Northampton, Leeds and/or Florence (Northampton Public School District) who move out of the Northampton Public School District but wish to have their children remain as students in Northampton Schools do not have any unique claim to the seats their children vacated. Those parents must apply for admission to the school choice program in the same manner as any other parent who does not reside in town.