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RCSD talks about truancy problem

Posted at: 11/09/2012 7:35 PM
Updated at: 11/09/2012 8:33 PM
By: Lynette Adams

Two weeks ago,  the mayor, the superintendent and members of the school board went knocking on doors. They were looking for children missing from school. They also wanted to learn the seriousness of the district's truancy problem. On Friday, they were armed with answers.

Educators say the numbers are alarming and they're enlisting the help of the community to get kids in the classroom.

Nicole Bailey said, “Parents need to be more involved with their kids. My daughter makes it to school everyday. It's sad.”

On any given day, Rochester mother Nicole Bailey says she can catch up with her daughter, a student at Rochester's School of the Arts. But that's not the case for hundreds of other students everyday in the Rochester City School District.

Two weeks ago, city leaders joined scores of volunteers who went door to door looking for kids missing in class.  On Friday, News10NBC learned what they found.

Malik Evans, Rochester City School Board President said, “Our data is showing us we have about 300 kids who are not showing up to school. School started the second week of September and as many as 1,500 students aren't there half the time.”

The president of the Rochester City School Board says this is disturbing. Malik Evans is putting the word out. If you see kids hanging out during the day, send them to school.

Evans said, “It's a very large number and this is where parents need to take responsibility, productive members of society.”

The school district now wants the city to spend $15,000 to hire a consultant from Yonkers to analyze the data and help the district take the appropriate next step. The president of the city council isn't sold on the idea and voted against recommending the proposal.

Lovely Warren, City Council President, said, “What we're doing now I think is just a sort of a feel good type of thing that says we're doing something when we haven't even started yet and I think that's putting the cart before the horse.”

Warren wants to see some other basic issues addressed first. Evans says the consultant the district wants to hire has expertise working in Yonkers. A district that has had a similar problem and has been successful in turning around it's truancy problem.

Evans says the district will continue to go door to door to get kids to school but also provide supports for families in trouble. Educators are also hoping to use some of the strategies used in Yonkers to turn that school district around.