With the school dropout rate in Bexar County and across Texas falling, city officials and leaders of the county's 15 school districts today started a new initiative...targeting students who chronically miss a day here, and a day there.


  "If they get into a habit of missing one or two days a month, that turns into doubling their chances of dropping out of school," said Judy McCormick of the P16 Plus  Council, which is partner in the SA 2020 effort.


  "If they miss ten or more days a year for any reason, it is very dangerous from an academic standpoint."


  The program, calls SA Kids Attend to Win, will include various activities designed to get kids and parents into a 'routine' that includes school, including going to be at the same time every night, setting the alarm in the morning, get out of the habit of scheduling medical appointments or other events during school hours, and get the student excited about attending school.


  Three major factors behind the on again off again student include problems with transportation, health, and lack of awareness of the importance of attendance.


  Chronically absent students are less likely to read at grade level, are 18 TIMES more likely to be chronically absent by the 6th grade, and are at an even higher danger of dropping out than are students who attend school, but underperform.


  It is also a benefit to the schools.  If all 322,00 students in the 15 public school districts in Bexar county were to attend just one more day of school, the ISD's could receive as much as $14,000,000 in additional state aid to education funding.