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Oregon agrees to pay boy's tuition

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Montgomery County school officials now say the 10-year-old boy who is waiting for his adoption to be completed can enroll in his local public school and that they'll worry later about getting his tuition money. But the boy's would-be father said he will keep him in private school this year.

School officials told James Chan, the man who plans to adopt the boy, that he couldn't enroll Jesse in a Chevy Chase school two weeks ago unless they received $8,552 in tuition. They since learned that Jesse is designated as a special-needs student and that federal law prohibits them from keeping him out of school because of money.

Raymond Bryant, Montgomery County's associate superintendent for student and community services, said he received Jesse's academic file Monday, which showed he has special needs. That was the green light that allowed Jesse to sign up, he said.

Montgomery County officials said if Chan wanted to enroll Jesse in public school, they would bill his home state of Oregon $14,926.

Last week, school officials told Chan that either he or the state would have to pay for Jesse's education because the boy's adoption would not be final for another six months. Until then, he is a ward of Oregon and not technically a resident of Montgomery County.

Chan said he couldn't afford the Montgomery County tuition, so he sent Jesse to private school at a cost of $5,400 for the year.

On Monday, officials in Lane County, Ore., where Jesse was formerly enrolled in school, decided to pay the boy's private school bill, said Patricia A. Feeney, spokeswoman for Oregon's Office of Services to Children and Families.

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