Carson City School District looking at attendance policies | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City School District looking at attendance policies

The Carson City School District is in the process of finalizing their school attendance policy to make it more comprehensive and better to keep students in school.

District officials presented an informational update to the school board Tuesday. The School Attendance Review Board, a group comprised of school representatives, public agencies and concerned citizens, is working to finalize the policy by the end of the year, to inform parents of the change and enact the policy in August.

In its proposal, SARB states the district should maintain its 90 percent attendance rate to be promoted to the next grade, which also means seniors would need to maintain a 90 percent attendance rate to graduate. But only unexcused absences would count against the attendance rate.

SARB has presented several exemptions for absences which wouldn’t count against the 90 percent attendance rate, including up to 10 days missed for any reason if excused by a parent as long as all make-up work is completed.

The proposed also would effectively allow for an unlimited number of days due to major medical issues that wouldn’t count against the 90 percent rate as long as all makeup work is completed and the proper documentation to excuse the absences is secured.

Also provided for in the proposed policy would be up to 10 domestic absences in which students have to deal with family issues that wouldn’t count against the 90 percent attendance rate and up to five circumstance absences that wouldn’t count against the 90 percent rate involving circumstances that require students to miss school.

The new attendance policy will create a unified policy for all the schools in the district and will be based on the revised Nevada statute. The function of the SARB is to review attendance of students in school, identify contributing factors to student truancy, establish programs to reduce truancy, evaluate effectiveness of the truancy programs, establish procedure for reporting the status of students for habitual truants and inform parents or guardians of the process.

The district is also working with entities such as the District Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Probation and the Ron Wood Resource Center to ensure the schools are working with the statutes and to help students and families reduce truancy problems.

“We got them involved in the process so we can instill in families’ minds how important attendance is for our kids,” said Superintendent Richard Stokes. “We want to try to align services with families for students to have the best chance to graduate.”

The board is also looking at including punitive outcomes for parents and students for habitual truants, including fines or revoked licenses.

In 2015, a state law was enacted for student drivers under the age of 18. That law states that students must attend school 90 percent of the time to receive their learner’s permit.

The SARB is hoping to present a finalized policy to the school board by the end of the school year.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Andrew Feuling, director of Fiscal Services gave a tentative budget preview for fiscal year 2017. The deficit is assumed by Fueling to be at $1.1 million in 2017 with $60,408,082 in expenses to $59,293,990 in revenues. Those numbers compare to $58,356,904 in revenue is FY 16 and $49,089,222 in expenses in 2016. The $732,318 deficit was covered by reserve funding.