The FOX 7 News team aired a story on the October 3rd News at Nine featuring Missing School Matters and the Get Schooled Challenge. Click to watch:
School districts lose $42 dollars every time a student misses a day of school. Parents and students are paying the consequences in other ways.
In Leslie Wimberly’s house, “It’s either you go to school or you’re sick.”
Other AISD moms share the same strict philosophy when it comes to their kids’ attendance at school.
Not all families are as dedicated.
In Central Texas, middle and High School students miss between seven and 14 days a year. The region is the top truancy offender in the state.
Texas law allows districts to file the class C misdemeanor charge of failure to attend on children over 12 who miss school or are late to school more than three days within a month. Charges can also be filed for missing 10 or more days within six months.
Last year AISD filed 188 charges against students.
Parents also pay the price. As allowed by state law, AISD filed contributing to truancy charges against parents 29 times.
Both charges carry a fine of up to $500 dollars.
But is that punishment enough?
In California, 34-year-old Lorraine Cuevas was sentenced to six months in jail for not sending her 2nd and 3rd grade kids to school. They missed a total of 116 days. Cuevas violated the California chronic truancy law which punishes parents of truant kids.
The school district claims they tried to contact Cuevas dozens of times about her kids’ attendance. When she didn’t respond, police got involved.
The E-3 Alliance takes a different approach.
“Rather than putting the hammer down on kids,” said Rick L’Amie. “We found that if you’re proactive and you work with the parents and the kids give them reasons and incentives to go to school, you’ll have better outcomes.”
This week the non-profit kicked off an attendance challenge in eight Central Texas school districts called Get Schooled. The winner is chosen based on website participation and attendance improvement. The prize is a celebrity principal for a day.
Public service announcements are running on the radio and soon you’ll see them on TV.
Right now the leading campus in the country is the Live Oak Academy in Buda.
“Everybody wins when we get kids in school,” L’Amie said.
To learn more about Get Schooled click here.
The E3 Alliance also has a program called Missing School Matters. To learn more about that click here.