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May 11, 2011, 9:30 a.m. CT

Jen Rae Hein, Gov’s Office
Ashley Cradduck, Gov’s Office

Gov. Heineman Signs Bill Updating Nebraska Truancy Statutes


(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today signed LB 463 into law, which updates state statute regarding truancy in Nebraska K-12 schools. The bill includes the emergency clause and will take effect tomorrow.

LB 463 updates truancy requirements enacted last year for K-12 students to provide greater flexibility in cases involving documented illnesses. School district policies must now include provisions on how school officials and county attorneys will handle excessive absenteeism that is due to serious or extended illness.

“As parents and policy makers, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to encourage our young people to be in school,” Gov. Heineman said. “If students aren’t in school, they can’t learn. This is about helping students succeed in the classroom. It’s also critical that school districts implement this law with common sense.”

Data compiled by the Nebraska Department of Education indicates that nearly 22,000 students, or approximately eight percent of all K-12 students in Nebraska, were absent more than 20 school days during the 2009-10 school year. Analysis conducted by Dr. Roger Breed, Commissioner of Education, indicates that truant 11th graders scored approximately 30 points lower on the 2010 statewide reading assessment compared to fellow students who hadn’t missed 20 days of school. 

LB 463 authorizes the Learning Community Coordinating Council, made up of representatives of the 11 school districts in the greater Omaha metro area, to provide funding for juvenile diversion programs intended to reduce excessive absenteeism. Superintendents will also develop and implement a joint plan to reduce truancy in learning community schools by August.

The bill also provides $100,000 to help the state court system provide early intervention through juvenile diversion programs to reduce excessive absenteeism. 

State law still requires school districts to report to the county attorney when a child is absent more than 20 days during a school year. Schools have the discretion to determine how to respond when a child is absent more than five days in a quarter.


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