Detroit Public Schools may be fined for district's high truancy

District may be forced to pay up to $25 million

DETROIT - The challenge of getting students to show up for school may lead to big fines for the Detroit Public School district.

The state is looking at fining DPS because attendance fell below the state minimum of 75 percent on 46 days in the 2010-2011 school year. Fines for the district could reach up to $25.9 million.

Last year only 53 percent of students were in attendance on the first day of school, Sept. 7, and only 32 percent were in attendance on the last day of school, June 16.

Detroit Public Schools spokesman Steve Wasko told Local 4 he expects the fines will be lower. He also said, "There's blame to go around. There's community blame, there's parents to blame, there's record keeping blame and there issues about whether or not attendance was taken in particular classrooms."

Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson said he fears the state penalties for poor attendance could potentially cut attendance officers and social workers who work to help keep kids in class.

State officials will be working with DPS for the next several months reviewing records to determine the fine which they say will more likely be close to one million dollars.

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