Mother who put kids in wrong school released from jail early
Ohio mother Kelley Williams-Bolar is led off to jail after her conviction last week.
January 27th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Mother who put kids in wrong school released from jail early

An Ohio woman who was jailed for tampering with records to get her children into a better school district has been released from jail a day early, according to a local newspaper.

Kelley Williams-Bolar left the Summit County Jail on Wednesday, having served nine days of her 10-day sentence, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Williams-Bolar, a single mother living in subsidized housing in Akron, used her father's address to register her two daughters in the high-achieving suburban Copley-Fairlawn school district.

Copley-Fairlawn said the improper registration cost it $30,000 in lost tuition and $6,000 in investigative costs.

The case has drawn national media attention and outrage, much of it due to its racial undertones: Williams-Bolar is black, while the Copley-Fairlawn schools are predominantly white.

A Google search for Williams-Bolar's name turns up 131,000 results.

Williams-Bolar told CNN affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland that she plans to appeal her conviction. The local chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network is trying to raise money to fund the appeal, the Beacon Journal reported.

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Filed under: Crime • Education • Justice • Ohio • Race • U.S.
soundoff (855 Responses)
  1. Cincy_Sensei

    If this woman's parent(s) had been graded, as in today's CNN cover page poll, maybe she would have chosen a better man to have children with,taken post-primary education,chosen a good man to marry & remain married,...and living where her father lives. And her children could carry on...

    January 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • alumette

      it does not always work that way and you know it. You are painting "the perfect picture" and it is a myth.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlotte K.

      What if that man has died or fallen off the face of the earth? Should she not try to do what's best for her children? Obviously, she takes her responsibility as a mom seriously and put her kids education first instead of trying to find a mate by your logic.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rich

    This is ridiculous. The city claims it lost the tuition?? What tuition, this is a public school paid for by property tax. A tax her father pays directly or indirectly. If this does not get thrown out on appeal there is no justice.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      the school could have recieved more funds had she done it the right way, bymeans of open enrollment not lying

      January 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HH

    How did the school district miss out on getting money, are they not paid by headcount. Let's get this straight, just because she is not paying taxes to the school district she sent her kids to does not mean the school district did not receive money for her kids going there. Everyone pays school taxes even if they don't have kids in the school district (even if they are paying for private school) and the schools don't receive money directly related to families paying in school district money. The school districts get money from the state based on the head count (so they received money for her kids going there) and the money that comes from local school taxes come from property owners, not based on how many kids live in a residence but how much your property is worth (or perhaps if based on how much someone makes if a payroll based tax). So if you home is valued at 250k for tax purposes and you have no kids, you will pay the same as someone with a 250k house with 2 kids or a 250k house with 10 kids (so the people with 10 kids are getting a bargain but the school district is making less per head); if payroll based, it is the same way. Are the school districts going out against people pay less per kid and asking for more money or giving refunds to people that don't have kids, no of course not. I am no condoning what she did but at least she had her residence listed as somewhere where she could live (her dad's) and was not listing a friends house or a post office box, business address, or an empty lot. She should just move in with her dad and get rid of her place and then what will the school district do (they would not be able to do anything). There are lots of people that do this and there were 100 other families also investigated and a few were also found to be fraudulently sending their kids there but they were not thrown in jail and why, because they did not try to fight it (probably because they did not actually have a real residence that they could be living in in the district). I would really put it to the school district by moving in with my dad and proudly taking my kids to the school to attend and enjoying the fact that there is nothing they could do!

    January 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aaron

    i sympathize with her but the law is the law and there are other ways to go about avoiding the inner city schools its called open in rollment and thats what me adn my wife do its the legal way to have your child go to a better school system

    January 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Shawna

    I'm truly ashamed. I read countless articles DAILY and the majority of them are about abusive parents and kids that were never given a fair shot. I understand that this woman may have "broken the law", but to be punished so harshly... More parents in this world should step up for their children the way this woman has. "Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one." ~Chinese Proverb

    January 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Greg

    I dunno, this is a law I would break if I had to. Kudos for the mom for caring. It's hard for the poor to move up. Not because there is no opportunity, but because it is not in thier mindset. Here you have a mom that is wanting to at least give her kids a better life. God bless anyone that decides it may be over for them, but at least they can give their kids a better chance.

    If the mom read this, I would say move to a different city. In my city, even the poorer schools are decent. And many of the richer neighborhoods have affordable housing in one pocket or another.

    Last, even though it is considered socialism, I think that spreading the taxes around so that poorer neighborhoods can have a fighting chance at teaching those students would be a good thing.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JAB

    For all of you supporting this woman with your comments, write to your representative and demand school vouchers. That way, this woman would not have to break the law; she could choose legally where to send her kids.

    What she did is illegal, plain and simple. If you don't like the law, fine. But you solve nothing by breaking it. Solve the problem by changing the law.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • pedro

      Well, systemically your argument has merit. But individually, that path would potentially yield results in time for her kids to say "wish that could have happened for me". Broke the law? Yes. Deserves jail time and a felony record for trying to get her kids educated in a non-throwaway school system? I for one don't think so. Ohio is a very classist/racist place, and that runs up to very high levels. If her kids achieve, they deserve better than "too bad you're poor and black and didn't go to a good enough school". That's about what they get in their district.

      January 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • alumette

      Good point but it takes too long. Desperate times call for desperate actions. Vouchers were taken away by the Bush administration as I recall. Were they not?

      January 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. eri dybing

    The govenor needs to issue pardon today

    January 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DBH

    Common CNN, When do you expect people should take responsibility for their actions? The mother knowingly defrauded the school district. Lied and falsely planted information. Yet you twist the story and through in the race card. Perhaps you didn’t notice that the prosecuting attorney was black. The fact the mother was completing her degree as a teacher only add strength to the prosecutions case, she knew what she was doing was WRONG!!! Hope she and her kids learned something from this, like don’t lie!

    January 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. stardust

    So many people want all schools to be equal and for all kids to have a chance, I would like to know how you plan on making that happen? The nice districts are better because the people that live in those districts pay more money. So if the people in poor neighborhoods would like the schools to get better they need to pay the same amount of money. That is basically the only solution because you cannot make people that live in the nicer neigborhoods pay even more money to cover your own children. If someone doesn't do anything with their life and cannot afford anything and then decides to have a child it is not my responsibilty to pay for the childs education it is the parents.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      I live in a very nice neighborhood with high taxes. I would be willing to let a percentage of those taxes be distributed to poorer schools nationwide at the cost of funding to my school district.

      Poorer schools need the money more. I already work with my kids 1-2 hours a night. I see many of the parents in my school district that already do the same. The parents in poorer neighborhoods, grew up in those neighborhoods. Their mindset is simply not in the best interest of their kids. A mindset that hasn't changed for many since the slave days. So while I do believe that parents are the soles that are ultimately responsible for their kids education and behavior; in many situations have this vicious circle that will never stop if you rely on the parents. So maybe, if you can properly fund the schools, then you can give the kids growing up in these neighborhoods a fighting chance. Maybe it will be a program, or maybe it will be a teacher, but at the very least it won't be a woefully underfunded school that just herds kids threw grades like cattle as it is the only way the can survive.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlotte K.

      How many households in your nice neighborhood has children? Not all of them, so guess what, you are being subsidized by the people who pay taxes to your school and dont even have school age children. So don't act like you pay so much more money and you deserve a better school, your neighbors do more for you than you do for yourself!

      January 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Linda P.

    There is a human side to this story, a mother trying to better herself and the lives of her children. In 1986 I and my 14 year old daughter rented an apt. in Cincinnati. When I signed the lease – the landlord (who also owned the house next door) told me the apt. was in the school district that I wanted my daughter to attend. A better education. Two years later the landlord sold his house (the one he lived in) – This is when I found out that his residence was in the district that I wanted, but the one he rented to me (right next door) was NOT!! My dauthter had to change schools and a year later she dropped out of school at almost 17. She is now 39 years old and said that she does regret dropping out. I know if she had been able to stay in the school I wanted for her that if she had been able to stay with her friends and great teachers – she would have graduated. She has said the same.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stopthemadness

    Bottom line, the Grandfather was paying taxes. This was not stealing. Stop making assumptions about this woman's life. The only equalizer we have in this country is to obtain a quality education. If you don't get it, you are a$$ out.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. hjlove

    This is something that happens all the time. It is totally ridiculous to jail this woman because she put her kids in an out district school. With all of the other issues I m sure is going on in that state, why was it a priority to jail a single mother who is trying to give her children a chance to be educated. Why not jut kick them out and be done with it. I see comments from folks who think this is okay. Those of you, who have not broken the law in some form or fashion, please stand up. Don’t throw stones when you are not picture perfect yourself. This is a mother, evidently one who cares about her children. I see mention of her not paying taxes in the district. So @#@#### what. How many illegals do we have here in this country that are working, getting paid under the table, not paying taxes, getting state assistance and reaping the benefits of this country. Again, I feel that this was a waste of taxpayer’s money. I work everyday and I damn sure don’t want to see my dollars going towards something as ridiculous as this.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. M. Compton

    It is understandably against the law if your not registered correctly to be accused of wrong doing however, Does it warrant spending $36,000.00 to get a conviction in this economic time. I guess WITHOUT SUPRISE, the next late breaking news will cover how our local government systems need more money from these very same people, I.e. " WE THE PEOPLE "....Maybe some things just isn't suppose to make...... " Economic Sense " .......P.s. In my error I do remember
    hearing rumors of how big government also spent 46,000.00 for a skil saw. Mmmmmm, someone must have felt this was a deal too !

    January 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |


    January 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
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