WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is investigating the residency claims of all 566 students at Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
News of the investigation was first reported by the Washington Post.
Students who are not D.C. residents can attend the school, but must pay over $12,000 annually in tuition. Currently, there are 70 registered students who are non-residents.
However, school officials said that an annual investigation in October of last year raised questions about the validity of the claims by students who registered as D.C. residents.
The Post reported an initial check of around 100 students claiming to be residents, found more than half may live outside D.C.
School officials said that any families found to be falsifying residency claims will have to remove their child from the school, pay back owed tuition, and may face charges from the D.C. Attorney General's office.
The Post also report that a lawyer in the State Superintendent’s office told investigators to “take your time” because another school scandal would not be welcomed by the Mayor during a re-election year.
The mayor and state superintendent dismissed that allegation.
"I have no knowledge of that comment and what I can say is that my direction and my expectation is that we continue our work, as always, with all deliberate speed," said OSSE State Superintendent Hanseul Kang.
"We wouldn’t support any one of our 33-thousand employees saying that," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.