Carpenter Community Charter is among the best elementary schools in Los Angeles. Its students surpass standardized testing goals, its art and music programs are thriving and it enjoys robust support from parents and the community.
The campus also, officials say, is harboring scores of cheaters: families who have provided false addresses so their children can attend the esteemed Studio City school south of Ventura Boulevard.
Faced with the possibility of over-enrollment this fall — and armed with new verification powers — Carpenter is taking action. In the coming weeks, school officials will be knocking on the doors, giving parents another chance to prove they live where they claim to. If it is determined that they committed fraud, their children will be allowed to finish the year before they get the boot.
Carpenter is believed to be among the first L.A. Unified schools to launch such a wide-scale crackdown. Across Los Angeles, families scramble to secure housing within the boundaries of high-performing schools. And it is no secret that some game the system by using the addresses of relatives who live near sought-after campuses or doctoring documents like utility bills and rental agreements.