California enacted a historic Local Control Funding Formula in 2013, which requires school districts to track chronic absence as a metric of pupil engagement. School districts across California are now required to monitor and address chronic absence as part of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) prescribed under the Local Control Funding Formula. The resources on this page can help districts learn to calculate chronic absence and set goals for improvement in LCAPS
The first step in setting goals for improving chronic absence is assessing the scope and scale of the problem in a school district. Attendance Works has developed free data tools specifically for California school districts who need support in calculating chronic absence. The tools are compatible with the Aeris student information system.
The California Attorney General’s Office developed a sample LCAP that includes guidance on how to include chronic absence as a metric in the accountability plan. The AG’s office does not have a role in enforcing compliance and does not intend the sample as a directive. Rather Attorney General Kamala Harris sees attendance as a critical, foundational aspect of ensuring student achievement, and her staff crafted the sample LCAP to support school districts developing plans.
New materials from the California State Department of Education and the California School Boards Association suggest how chronic absence tracking can be built into the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) system and local school board policy.
Despite the requirement for tracking chronic absence, a review of LCAPS shows that not all school district have included the metric in their plans yet. Others don’t fully understand the distinction between truancy and chronic absence, which encompasses all absences — excused an unexcused. That materials below can clarify definitions and requirements.
Oakland: The Oakland Unified School District LCAP disaggregates chronic absence data and includes expenditures for Office of Attendance & Discipline Student Services (pg. 177). It discusses plan for a Success Mentor program focused on supporting attendance (pg. 244).
Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Unified School District LCAP discusses the Diploma Project, Foster Support Plan and Family Source Centers, Health and Human Services (pg. 99), and includes a chronic absence update in the Appendix (pg. 269) that is definitely worth a look