From: CenturyLink Customer
To: Marie Poulson, Michael Noel, Carol Moss, Daniel McCay, David Lifferth, Eric Hutchings, Greg Hughes, Francis Gibson, Justin Fawson, Steve Eliason, Kim Coleman, Lowry Snow, Brad Last, LaVar Christensen, LaVar Christensen, Wayne Niederhauser, Joel Briscoe, Jim Dabakis, Marie Poulson, Brian King, Curtis Bramble, Jerry Stevenson, Howard Stephenson, Daniel Thatcher, Lyle Hillyard,
Subject: SB45
Date: Sat Feb 27 19:30:46 MST 2016
Dear Legislators,                    Feb 27. 2016
Re: SB45   It is my understanding that this bill has now passed in the Senate and is pending in the House Education Committee.
    There has been a lot of noise about how the state’s current compulsory attendance law is so unfair to parents.  As I read the bill, the law as currently written basically enacts criminal Class B misdemeanor charges on parents only if a student under 16 years of age has missed school excessively without a good cause or legitimate reason, as provided by the parent, and if the parent refuses to meet with school personnel to correct the attendance problem, and refuses to  use reasonable influence to make sure the student has no more than five more unexcused absences during the rest of the school year. Parents who are doing their best to get their children to attend school, who are cooperating with school personnel to correct the attendance problem would not be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.  Only those who refuse to do what they can do, or who refuse to meet with school personnel to resolve the problem would be charged.
    Regardless of home circumstances, it is the parents’ responsibility to see that their children attend school.  This law has been in affect for many years, long before the legislature started grading schools based on test performance.  I am sure this penalty in the current law was made law only after it was found that anything less than a legal consequence wouldn’t assure that some parents would accept their legal responsibility of making sure their children attend school. I don’t think the current law is unfair.
    SB45 would eliminate Class B misdemeanor penalties for parents of an excessively truant school-age child, which parents refuse to accept their legal responsibility of doing what is necessary to get their child to attend school unless there is a legitimate excuse for absences.  What would be unfair is if those truant children at such a young age were allowed to stop attending school without legitimate reasons, because their parents refuse to accept their responsibility of making sure their children receive schooling at least until they are 16 years old..
    If you want to see more students fail to finish high school, and make it even more difficult for public schools to manage students and be accountable for student achievement, pass this bill.  Otherwise please do not approve this bill.

Sincerely, Fred Ash, Legislative Chair of the URSEA