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Hazleton Schools Enrollment Concerns

HAZLETON — The Hazleton Area School District is trying to tackle a growing trend that is causing overcrowding. District officials say they’ve notice...

HAZLETON -- The Hazleton Area School District is trying to tackle a growing trend that is causing overcrowding. District officials say they've noticed more and more people enrolling their children in class, even though the parents themselves do not live in the district.

In some cases, the district has seen a parent sign over custody of a child to a friend who lives in Hazleton just so that child could attend school on the city.

District administrators are now trying to figure out how to make sure the students who attend school there belong there.

"It just keeps happening, where people don't live in Pennsylvania; they live in New York or Jersey. Their kids come to school here and then when summer comes, they go back," said Jeannie Palmer of Drums.

Palmer's son goes to Hazleton Area High School, and is among the Hazleton area parents who have heard about and seen this trend.

"Everybody knows about it, but you can't say anything. What are you going to do?" Palmer added.

"I honestly don't know why they would do that. I mean, I can understand getting them an education, but other than that I really don't know why," said Becca Reinhard of Hazleton.

The district isn't sure, either, on what's causing parents to relocate their children to the area, especially when the parents themselves do not live in Hazleton. It's created a committee to figure that out.

"We're going to try to be delving into what is causing this. What are the root causes? How can we address it? What's fair? What is legal? How do we move forward?" said Hazleton Area Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler.

The new committee is comprised of about a dozen HASD administrators, teachers, and school board members.

The superintendent believes, although the district was aware of the issue in the past, a committee is necessary now.

"I think what's causing concern for us is we are seeing it occur more frequently. It's becoming more prevalent, to the point where it is affecting class size," Butler added.

The committee will meet for the first time on Thursday night to begin to figure out how many students have been able to enroll in Hazleton, although their parents live out of town.

It will help the district figure out how to tackle the trend, and review its legality.