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Former D.C. principal charged with tuition fraud

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Local,DC,Education,Rachel Baye

The District has charged a former D.C. Public Schools principal, her daughter and her granddaughter with conspiring to commit fraud by avoiding out-of-state tuition for her great-grandson.

Barbara Campbell, the principal at Langdon Education Campus in Northeast Washington from 1992 until the end of the 2011-2012 school year, lives with her granddaughter, Arletta McAllister, and McAllister's son in Fort Washington in Prince George's County. Campbell

allowed McAllister's son to attend Langdon tuition-free for the past two school years and part of this year, according to court documents. Tuition -- charged to every DCPS student who does not live in the District -- would have been $12,227 for the son to attend Langdon, which serves preschool through eighth grade,

during the 2010-2011 school year and $11,629 in 2011-2012.

Arletta McAllister's mother, Kim McAllister, who lives in Southeast Washington, was also named in the suit for signing an enrollment form stating that her grandson lived with her and that she was his legal guardian. Her grandson, who began at the school in prekindergarten, is not named in the court documents.

The D.C. Office of the Attorney General is seeking to recover more than $75,000, which includes $24,707.90 in unpaid tuition and civil fines. The office "will vigorously prosecute this serious breach of public trust by a self-dealing school official," Attorney General Irvin Nathan said.

Campbell denied the allegations.

Arletta McAllister and her son were living with Kim McAllister in Southeast Washington when Kim McAllister was "suddenly" evicted from her apartment, Campbell said. The three came to stay with Campbell, who was still mourning the loss of her husband, who died in March 2009, and needed the support, she said, but they maintained their permanent residence in Southeast Washington.

Additionally, Campbell said the charges are based on documents forged by a bitter ex-employee who was laid off from Langdon.

"No one committed fraud. No one lied," she said. "The investigation wasn't properly handled. The documents were forged, and they were forged by an office person that I had to excess who took umbrage with a vindictive vendetta."

Attorney General's Office spokesman Ted Gest declined to comment on her allegations.

According to the court documents, Campbell admitted during a phone call on March 9, 2012, with a DCPS investigator that Arletta McAllister and her son lived with her in Fort Washington.

Neither Kim nor Arletta McAllister could be reached for comment.

The case is the second charge of tuition fraud the District has brought in the past week. On Monday, the District charged Hyattsville resident Candyce Boose with fraud for falsely claiming that she and her daughter lived at an address in the District's Bloomingdale neighborhood so that her daughter could attend Barnard Elementary School tuition-free, according to authorities.

In Boose's case, the District is seeking more than $63,000 in unpaid tuition and civil fines.

Boose could not be reached for comment.

The District also sued a Maryland mother for $31,294 in October after she similarly evaded tuition owed to DCPS, authorities said. Last spring, The Washington Examiner reported that the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education was investigating more than 150 public school students for residency fraud.

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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