The California Attorney General recently issued a new report on truancy in the State’s schools. Inyo County was listed with a 5.7% rate and Mono County, 26.7%. Mono school and legal officials believe that figure is way too high.
Lois Klein, Superintendent of Mammoth Unified School District, called the State truancy figure for Mono County “very high.” She said sometimes as the State begins to collect data, there is not consistency in how it is entered. She said some of those listed may not be actual truancies. The definition of truancy is three or more unexcused absences from school in any given year.
Klein said that Mammoth schools are not way out of line with truancy. She said attendance is typically 90 to 94%. Asked about the School Attendance Review Board impact on truancy and absences, Superintendent Klein said, “I am very impressed with it. It is a real strength, and it represents how our community organizations work together.”
The Mono County Review Board includes representatives from Eastern Sierra Unified and Mammoth Unified School Districts, Public Health, Behavioral Health, Social Services, Probation, Sheriff, Police, and the District Attorney. Klein said these officials are all there to seriously support and improve attendance. She said Mammoth Schools will utilize that tool. Klein added that there is a lot of research that demonstrates being at school correlates with overall achievement.
Klein also said that the State is now collecting a lot of data on schools on things like discipline, attendance and staffing. She said instead of asking districts to manually report details, the State is pulling information out of computer systems. Klein pointed out that if information is not entered consistently, there is room for error. She called this an issue across the State. Klein said districts are wrestling with that because they have been cut back financially and at the same time asked to provide more accountability.
The District Attorney, head of the Attendance Review Board – Dr. Don Clark, and Mono County Superintendent of Schools – Stacey Adler, all said that the State truancy figure for Mono County is very high.