Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris proposes new anti-truancy laws for California

SACRAMENTO — Warning that elementary school truancy in California has reached a crisis level, state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris and lawmakers on Monday proposed a package of bills aimed at improving the tracking of absenteeism and the evaluation and use of measures to keep kids in school.

Harris estimated that 1 million elementary school students are truant each year and 250,000 of them miss 18 or more school days costing school districts $1.4 billion. In all, 30% of elementary school students were truant during the 2012-2013 school year, she said.

“California’s Constitution guarantees our children the right to an education, yet our elementary schools face a truancy crisis,” Harris said. “When children in kindergarten through sixth grade miss school, they fall behind and too many never catch up.’’