Jim Steinberg, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/26/2011 06:40:35 PM PDT

RIALTO – For five years, Rialto Unified school board member Edgar Montes has had twin boys improperly enrolled in Fontana Unified School District.

On Wednesday, Montes, a member of the Rialto school board since November 2010, for the first time completed interdistrict transfer paperwork to legitimize the attendance of his children in FUSD’s Chaparral Elementary School.

By not enrolling his children in RUSD during their elementary school years, Montes cost the district more than $65,000 in missed average daily attendance funding, RUSD officials say.

“If Rialto Unified has any rights to collect past ADA from Fontana, the direction would come to us from county schools,” Rialto Unified spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said,referring to the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Office.

Dan Evans, a spokesman for the county’s Superintendent of Schools, said the matter is between the two school districts.

Montes learned about the paperwork in a meeting on Tuesday with FUSD interim Superintendent Alejandro Alvarez and the principal of Chaparral school, he said.

Alvarez could not be reached for comment.

“Nobody brought it to my attention in my district,” Montes said.

The Montes children have been attending Chaparral since 2006. Montes and his wife purchased a home in Rialto in 2002. Children in that neighborhood attend Preston Elementary School in the Rialto district.

Montes said his children attend a school in the Fontana district because it is near to where he and his wife work, at a pallet-recycling business in Fontana.

A structure on the business site is a residence for Montes’ father-in-law and an office for the business.

Having the children’s school near work makes it easier to care for and supervise the children, he said.

Requests for interdistrict transfers are granted “99 percent of the time,” said one RUSD official, who declined to be identified.

The most common reasons for the transfers are child care and work issues, Jafri said.

Until the 2011-12 school year, parents needed to annually seek permission for an interdistrict transfer.

Effective this year, approvals for interdistrict transfers last five years, Jafri said.

“Whether we agree or disagree with the rules, we still need to abide by them,” said Joe Ayala, who serves on the Rialto school board with Montes.

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