Thursday, July 13, 2000

Summer truancy 17 percent

Parents of kids who didn't show may be fined

By Mara H. Gottfried
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Seventeen percent of Cincinnati Public School children required to attend a summer school session have not shown up, and the session ends Friday.

        Now the district is poised to cite their parents to court and they could be fined.

        In the first year of the district's Third Grade Reading Guarantee, 417 of 2,466 students were reported truant.

        The district sent letters to parents of the absent students during the second week of the five-week summer program, said Jan Leslie, director of public affairs for the district.

        Principals and teachers also tried to contact parents, she said. Parents or guardians could be charged with failure to send a child to school, which carries a $5 to $20 fine.

        Judges also have the option of setting a $100 bond, if the guardian is charged, to ensure that the child will be sent to school in the future, said Charlie Rubenstein, chief deputy city prosecutor.

        “The notice was fair warning that summer school is not optional,” he said, “this was a mandatory requirement.”

        Students in the second and third grade who did not pass the state's reading proficiency test were required to attend summer school. About 42 percent of the district's second graders and 20 percent of third graders failed the test.

        The absent students are the ones who lost out, said Ms. Leslie.

        “This was a chance for them to move forward. Our intent is to make sure that parents understand the importance of attendance.”


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