1 in 4 kindergartners is chronically absent — part of a multimillion-dollar problem for LAUSD

Los Angeles Unified has a multimillion-dollar problem: kids aren’t coming to school. And it’s particularly bad among their youngest students.

New district data show that 1 in 4 kindergartners misses 15 or more days of school each year.

“I couldn’t believe that when I heard that,” Diane Pappas, the superintendent’s senior adviser, told board members at the August meeting as she presented the district’s four-point plan to decrease chronic absences.

Schools get paid by the state for every day a child is in school. In 2016-17, LA Unified lost about $630 million in revenues as over 80,000 students — or 14.3 percent of all students — were chronically absent, which is defined as missing 15 or more days, according to a LA Unified Advisory Task Force’s report.

This year’s message to parents and school staff is: Keep the number of days any student is absent to seven or less. And parents will start seeing that message at their schools this Friday, which the district is designating “Attendance Matters Day.”

When he was introduced as the new superintendent in May, Austin Beutner said if LA Unified can turn 8,000 to 10,000 kids into better attenders, “they’ll learn, and absenteeism matters to the whole classroom because the revenues come back — probably $10 million of revenue for the district as a whole next year.” Click here to read more: http://laschoolreport.com/1-in-4-kindergartners-is-chronically-absent-part-of-a-multimillion-dollar-problem-for-lausd/