H. B. 3245
(By Delegates Manypenny and White)
[Introduced February 21, 2011; referred to the
Committee on Education then Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-8-12, relating to education; compulsory school attendance; establishing “The School Truancy Pilot Study Project Act”,a pilot program to allow the five or six counties with the highest dropout rate to implement a program to help reduce truancy; and to provide for its funding.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-8-12, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8. COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE.
§18-8-12. The School Truancy Pilot Study Project Act.
(a) This section is known and may be cited as “The School Truancy Pilot Study Project Act.”
(b) The Legislature makes the following findings:
(1) West Virginia has a dire need to implement a comprehensive approach to addressing the high school truancy and dropout rates, and to develop policies and strategies that successfully assist at-risk students to stay in school, earn a high school diploma, and ultimately become productively contributing members of society;
(2) The current demands for a highly skilled workforce require a high school diploma at the very minimum;
(3) The state has several dynamic programs that are capable of actively engaging students in learning, providing students with a sense of relevancy in academics, and motivating students to succeed in school and ultimately earn a high school diploma;
(4) Dealing with the compulsory school attendance age and high truancy rates may help to increase the graduation rate and decrease the drop-out rate;
(5) Absenteeism is proven to be the highest predictor of course failure. Truant students face low self-confidence in their ability to succeed in school because their absences cause them to fall behind their classmates, and the students find dropping out easier than catching up. Students who are chronically truant from elementary school onward, miss school more and more each year, eventually dropping out of high school;
(6) Dropping out of school has a profound negative impact on an individual’s future, resulting in limited job choices, substantially lower wages and less earned over a lifetime than high school graduates, and a greater likelihood of depending on public assistance and engaging in criminal activity;
(c) The Legislature declares as follows:
(1) The purpose of this legislation is to establish a framework for addressing high dropout and truancy rates in the various counties in the state;
(2) The State Superintendent of Schools shall establish standards and criteria to allow the five or six counties with the highest truancy and dropout rates to implement a pilot plan to reduce truancy by allowing Saturday attendance or during the summer if a student misses more than five permitted absences, which standards and criteria shall include a plan to pay for the cost of Saturday or summer attendance for make up days;
(3) Any county school board in the top ten percent of the state for the highest dropout rate may apply for this program. If for any reason the first five or six counties do not choose to participate in this program, then the next county with the highest dropout rate may apply and so forth until ten percent of the state’s counties are represented in this pilot program.
(d) The pilot program shall commence no later than September 1, 2011 and continue until July 1, 2017, unless sooner terminated by the Legislature.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create a pilot program to allow the five or six counties with the highest dropout rates to implement a program to help reduce truancy; and to authorize Saturday or Summer make up days.
This section is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.