Truancy and absenteeism cost California schools $1.4 billion a year – about $225 per student – money that could be recouped by keeping better tabs on which kids skip school and why, says a new study by state Attorney General Kamala Harris reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. The report offers the first statewide assessment of the truancy problem as well as the financial impact of absences on each county.
“This crisis is not only crippling for our economy, it is a basic threat to public safety,” said Harris. “It’s time for accountability and to craft real solutions at every level – from parents to school districts, to law enforcement – to solve this problem.” Researchers found that poverty, homelessness, incarceration, evictions and job loss were often obstacles to school attendance. Chronic health issues, including asthma and obesity, were also a common cause.