Officials at the Department of Public Instruction say they are working to address a truancy problem in school districts across the state.
A recent state audit found one of every 10 Wisconsin public school students were habitually truant during the 2006-2007 school year. In Milwaukee, nearly 46-percent of students had five or more unexcused absences. The state's largest truancy rate was in the Menominee Indian District, where 58-percent of kids had at least five unexcused absences per semester.
DPI Director of Student Services, Prevention and Wellness Doug White says the numbers are a concern, but adds that some of the higher numbers may be the result of differing policies in districts on what counts for truancy. He says that in some districts, simply being tardy can count as truancy for students.
Still, White says they are taking steps to address the problem. Those include getting schools to keep better track of truant students and contacting families when a problem is found.
White admits that their best efforts still aren't likely to eliminate all truancy problems. He says the goal is to maximize the amount of time students spend in the classroom.