Many times schools are faced with an individual attempting to enroll a child based on an A.R.S. §14-5104 “delegation of powers by parent or guardian” power of attorney. This document allows another person delegated by the parent to exercise the same powers the parent has regarding the child’s “care, custody or property” for a period of up to six months. Active duty military parents have a similar power of attorney pursuant to A.R.S. §14-5107 which allows delegation of authority to another person for up to one year. The key to either of these documents when it comes to enrolling a child, however, is to determine what powers the parent actually had.
If I, as a parent, live in a school district but cannot get away from work-required travel to enroll my child, I could give a “14-5104” power of attorney to my mother or even my next door neighbor to use to enroll my child on my behalf. I would still have to provide proof of my own residency, immunization records or an affidavit affirming my beliefs as to why I don’t vaccinate my child, and my child’s birth certificate or other proof of my child’s identity and age along with an explanation as to why the birth certificate was not available. As the power of attorney would expire in six months, I’d also need to get down to the school to enroll my child myself at some point. Similarly, if I were an active duty member of the military, I could provide a “14-5107” power of attorney so that my child could be enrolled while I was deployed and unable to enroll the child myself. So far, so good.
The problem arises, however, when the parent doesn’t have the power to enroll the child in a school district. Under A.R.S. §15-824, the residence of the parent is the residence of the child. If the parent presently resides out of state, the parent has no right to enroll the child in an Arizona school without payment of tuition. If the parent presently resides in Mexico, Canada, or any other country, the parent could not enroll a high school age child in an Arizona public school without payment of tuition–and an F-1 visa–and could not enroll an elementary school child at all. Since the parent doesn’t have the right to enroll the child without payment of tuition, the person holding the power of attorney does not have the right to enroll the child without payment of tuition, even if the person holding the power of attorney resides in the district.
In these instances, the individual in the district with whom the child is actually residing, needs to secure a guardianship through the Superior Court of that county. Once the individual has secured guardianship, the now guardian can enroll the child based on the guardian’s residence in the district. **
*There are some exceptions to the general requirement to pay tuition. These exceptions are listed in A.R.S. §15-824.
**If, however, the “primary purpose” for seeking guardianship “was to circumvent the payment of tuition as provided in this section,” tuition will still be required. See: A.R.S. §15-824 (2) (b).
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Education Law Attorney, Candyce B. Pardee at 800.863.6718, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area.