You’ll Stick With Your Crappy School, and You’ll Like It

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Crazy case in Ohio, where a 40-year-old single mother lied about the residency of her children in order to get the  kids into a better public school. Kelley Williams-Bolar claimed her kids lived with their grandfather rather than with her in Akron. Instead of merely transferring the kids back to the bad school, the local officials decide instead to charge Williams-Bolar with two felonies, claiming she had defrauded the public of $30,000 by getting her kids into the better public school.

Williams-Bolar was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison earlier this month, although Judge Patricia Cosgrove suspended all but ten days of the sentence.

Cosgrove appears to have grown frustrated with prosecutors’ insistence on making an example of Williams-Bolar.

Cosgrove said the county prosecutor’s office refused to consider reducing the charges to misdemeanors, and that all closed-door talks to resolve the case — outside of court — met with failure…

Cosgrove said numerous pretrial hearings were held since last summer.

”The state would not move, would not budge, and offer Ms. Williams-Bolar to plead to a misdemeanor,” the judge said in an interview Wednesday.

”Of course, I can’t put a gun to anybody’s head and force the state to offer a plea bargain.”…

Late Wednesday, Cosgrove issued a news release to area newspapers and television and radio stations, citing the need to respond to ”overwhelming public interest” in her sentencing decision.

”The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office retains complete control over whether to charge a person with a felony or a misdemeanor,” the release stated.

Cosgrove’s bailiff said the office had been bombarded by calls from angry area residents, most of whom were saying that Williams-Bolar’s punishment far exceeded her crimes.

Williams-Bolar was also attending night school to obtain her teaching certificate. Her felony record could now bar her from teaching. Cosgrove has said she’d consider expunging the felonies if Williams-Bolar completes six months of probation.

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64 Responses to “You’ll Stick With Your Crappy School, and You’ll Like It”

  1. #1 |  pam | 

    Zargon @27
    “because “me-first” action is basically the foundation of evolution”

    maybe cooperation is the foundation of evolution and those are the groups that survived.

  2. #2 |  random guy | 

    I love the assholes in this thread: “She defrauded the school district and should be dealt with harshly”. Well so long as were going tit for tat, how about the school districts refund all that tax money they collect from people without kids?

    I believe some kind of public education is essential for a post-industrial society, and as such its cost should partially be shared, partially, by society. It shocks me that people who buy into the idea of public schools could be so fierce in their vilification of a women who was trying to use public goods to educate her children. You want to bitch about how she didn’t pay into the system, then you need to start writing checks to all the single people and childless couples who pay into your kids education. Either put up or shut up.

    What you should be asking is: if the disparity in the quality of schools is so great why isn’t the state government working to correct that instead of punishing a women trying to get her kids through the de facto segregation of the system? The states priorities have been seriously misplaced, and regardless of whatever arbitrary laws are written or enforced, what happened in this case is wrong on many levels.

  3. #3 |  Plinko | 

    I don’t think there’s a single person in this thread defending any harsh punishment.

    Some of us think the case in question is one of overprosecution of what ought to be considered a very minor offense. Others think this is a case of extreme government coercion vis a vis public school districting enforced by statist district attorneys.

    If you’re a minarchist, I can see how you’re outraged by the prosecution, but I think you need to admit that in the world you wish for, there also wouldn’t be the “good” school district for these kids to go to, either.

    If you’re more federalist, I’m not sure how you square the circle of championing more local/state control of schools with the expectation of free movement among schools as some kind of fundamental right. Allowing parents to move students around like that requires a top-down management at higher levels (state or even federal) to make decisions on allocating resources to match up to where students will actually go which inevitably requires that the most critical decisions are no longer made locally. You’re saying that the citizens of a city/town don’t have the right to local determination!

    Finally, the whole relative issue is a poor excuse. Obviously her father does not deserve any prosecution in my mind, but the idea that you’re owed the services of a locality because a relative does live there is silly. If you want your kids to go to those schools move there (swap houses with your dad!), establish co-guardianship or pay for private schools you do want your kids to go to.

  4. #4 |  Omri | 

    If you truly want to be nauseated, read the comments on about this story. The commenters there even go as far as to refer to the two kids as “ghetto trash.” And from what I’ve seen of Ohio, I am not overly surprised.

  5. #5 |  Omri | 

    Here’s one example:

    I live in Copley and PAY my property tax sohe kids of Copley can go to school. NOT GHETTO TRASH. I don’t care if she thinks she was doing best for her kids. She stole from every person in Copley that pays taxes. I do …not pay my taxes for her kids to go to school and they have no right going to school there

    SHE NEEDS TO TO TO JAIL FOR A WHILE. GIVE HER THE MAX TERM!! What a crook and go back to Akron, oh wait jail!”

    Stay classy, Ohio. Stay classy.

  6. #6 |  demize! | 

    Well than the law is an ass. There is no “justice” in a pedantic, iniquitous application of said law. Especially if it isn’t applied in a consistent fashion. Although that wouldn’t make it any more just.

  7. #7 |  bbartlog | 

    Doesn’t the judge have the power to actually set aside a guilty verdict? I’m not an expert (maybe the judge has to have one of some particular small set of reasons to do this) but I’ve heard of it happening before.

  8. #8 |  Kukulkan | 

    Bob at #35:

    My town’s school system rocks because of the commitment of the community.

    I seriously doubt that. Rather, I think your town’s school system rocks because your town is full of affluent people. This affluence produces the money for a small subsection of your town to lobby for spending it on schools.

    Bob? Don’t you think that our community’s decision to levy additional taxes on ourselves shows a commitment from the community?

    Verdon at #41

    I sure hope your kid is getting a better education in regards to reading comprehension that [sic] you did. The grandfather of the kids lived in the school district.

    Umm, Verdon, that’s the grandfather, not the student. If the community wanted grandparents to satisfy residency requirements, it could easily do so, but it did not. I wonder why the community did not do this? Hmm, average family has 2.5 children. So, average grandfather has 6.25 grandchildren. Do you see the problem yet? What about a second cousin twice removed?

    I cannot believe that a bunch of libertarians accept the idea that people who do not contribute to a system are entitled to benefits from that system.

  9. #9 |  Pete Heureux | 

    The moral argument played out between Bob and Kukulkan is emotionally compelling but ultimately arises from falling on one particular side of the fundamental question; is involuntary taxation morally just? If you fall on the side that creates justification for forcing property owners (for instance) to fund community schooling then the argument over who goes to what school is just one of an endless stream ‘local’ battles distracting us from the consequences of our original choice (forced taxation). If, however, you fall on the side that says that it is not right to force others to pay for things they do not themselves directly use then this argument is a waste of your time and passion. If someone was intractable on the core issue they are not going to be more understanding in an argument over the consequences of their original action.

    Those who believe it is not right to force someone to pay for goods they do not receive should stop helping to try to keep the spinning plate of our economic system balanced for just one more day. Spend your time figuring how to get OFF the plate (it can be done!) and leave the ‘taxers’ to it.

    The practical method for the mom in this case would have been to take full responsibility for the education of her children and leave the school system to fend for itself.

  10. #10 |  RWW | 

    Privatization is not the answer, the choice once again goes to people with means…

    I suppose food and shelter should also be completely socialized, eh? After all, we wouldn’t want people with means to get better food and houses.

    Robbing a robber is no real crime. The only shame here is that she was caught.

  11. #11 |  RWW | 

    …our community’s decision to levy additional taxes on ourselves…

    Ah, the weird schizophrenia of statism.

    I cannot believe that a bunch of libertarians accept the idea that people who do not contribute to a system are entitled to benefits from that system.

    It’s not entitlement. It’s just the tiniest feeling of joy at seeing someone throw a small wrench into your system of thievery.

  12. #12 |  RWW | 

    …it is not right to force someone to pay for goods they do not receive…

    Beyond that, it is not right to force someone to receive goods. Compulsory schooling is morally bankrupt and close to useless, even in the best school districts.

  13. #13 |  QuietWatcher | 

    #62 Right on!!! That’s what I was trying to say in my clumsy, pissed of way. I should have the right to opt out my intelligent, mechanically inclined kid who is not doing well in the public school system and that money could be better spent on a kid who excels at the public school systems idea of learning. Not all kids learn the same things in the same way. I told the teachers (who don’t like me at all BTW) at the last conference I went to that the ONLY thing I need them to teach my kid is how to count money and the rest is extraneous bullshit. If a kid is good at something in particular shouldn’t we be teaching to that strength? President Obama said our education system needs to catch up to the times and the technology right? Well I challenge him and the rest of us to REALLY make that change. If there’s something you want or need to know, don’t you just google it? There will always be people who love knowledge and learning who will put that knowledge out there for others to find. Free my child and his self esteem from your bullshit system.

  14. #14 |  Mathew Crawford | 

    Nobody seems to be asking the question as to how all this got started.

    Maybe there was a tiny bit of extra money spent in the educational process, but state and federal funding would be essentially the same for each school in which these kids might attend, right? Where is the cause to have over a hundred families (correct me if I heard that wrong) investigated using taxpayer money? And who wins? Is this just a boondoggle with a handy excuse, desire for racial segregation, or something else? An attack on school choice? Or is my intuition wrong and the money spent will be recovered in decreased “fraud”?