San Luis Obispo County makes the top 5 student truancy list
September 13, 2014
By KAREN VELIE
San Luis Obispo County made the top-five list of California counties with the highest student truancy rates, according to a report released Friday by California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.
San Luis Obispo County had the fifth highest rate of truancy of California’s 58 counties during the 2012-2013 school year. Because of its high truancy rates, San Luis Obispo County lost $4.9 million in school funding during the past school year.
The report broke the data down by race, income levels, foster child status and county.
Statewide, almost 90 percent of children who missed more than 35 days during the school year are estimated to come from low-income families. Approximately one in 10 low-income students missed 10 percent or more of the 2013-2014 school year.
Racial disparities also played a role in attendance. Asian students had the lowest levels of truancy while African-American children had the highest.
“Nearly one in every five African-American elementary school students—over 33,000 in total—missed 10 percent or more of the school year, a rate over two and a half times that of white students in 2013-2014,” the report says.
In addition, foster youth are as much as two times more likely to be absent from school than other students. Moreover, foster children rates of absence are likely understated due to the difficulty of tracking foster youth who change schools an average of once every six months.
Because of this and other factors, 51 percent of children in the state’s foster care system fail to graduate from high school or receive a GED.
In the 2012-2013 school year, San Luis Obispo County’s had a 27.45 percent elementary school truancy rate. Mono County had the highest rate of truancy at 41.15 percent, followed by Shasta County at 35.35 and Lake County at 32.82 percent.
Alpine County at 5.36 percent had the lowest rate of truancy in California, followed by Calusa County at 6.32 percent and Napa County at 8.55 percent.
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