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Legislation would lessen truancy requirements for schools

OLYMPIA - The state House of Representatives this week approved a measure to ease student truancy requirements on school districts.

House Bill 3039, co-sponsored by Rep. Charles Ross, would modify truancy petition requirements and other activities related to responding to a child with unexcused absences.

Only middle and high schools would be required to take steps when a student has unexcused absences. The legislation would also make districts' responses optional, rather than required, when a student has excessive unexcused absences.

"I'm pleased we could make this change and remove some mandates on our school districts," said Ross, R-Naches. "This has been costing our local districts quite a bit of money, and it's not necessarily the best way for schools and parents to communicate about missed classes."

Public testimony in the House Judiciary Committee was unanimously in favor of the legislation. Those testifying stated the time and costs with truancy reporting are not justifiable given the limited classroom resources, and the poor evidence for achieving what it set out to do.

The House approved the bill 96-1. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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