Cheney School District

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BECCA FAQ's

RCW 28A.225--BECCA FAQ's
 
What happens when a student with previous attendance issues moves to Cheney?
The process continues from the point where the student was at in his/her previous district.  For example, if a student has been court ordered to attend school and the order has not expired and the student still is not regularly attending school, it is our responsibility to file a motion for contempt of court.  Spokane county has an agreement of reciprocity with all other counties in the state of Washington.  Additionally, unexcused absences that a child has accrued at a previous school count towards the 15 percent that they are limited to at Cheney Public Schools.
 
What if I need to serve a student paperwork and I can't find them or have no idea of their whereabouts?
Local law enforcement and our own SRO are great resources.  In the past, we have had great success working to serve students with Airway Heights Police, City of Cheney Police, and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
 
Should I go to court on behalf of the school when a student/parent is assigned a court date?
Absolutely!  The court wants and values your input.  You will be given the opportunity to meet with the juvenile prosecutor (Bob Jalovi) and also will address the judge/commissioner in the formal court proceeding.  Be prepared to discuss specific interventions that have been tried, student behavior, student academic performance, what kind of support you have received from the parent, and why you feel court intervention is necessary.  It is helpful to show up for court 30 minutes early to allow yourself time to help the prosecutor prepare.
 
When can a parent no longer write excuses for their student?
Remember that parents can excuse 15 percent of their child's absences.  This equates to about 27 days.  After that a doctors note is required in order to excuse further absences.
 
When should a stay petition be filed?
The law says NO LATER than after the 7th unexcused absence in a month and/or the 10th absence total during the school year.  You CAN however file a stay petition earlier than this.  5 unexcused absences is a good rule of thumb to follow.
 
Can I skip the process of filing a Stay Petition and go directly to the process of filing an Amended Petition for Order to Show Cause?
NO.  The court has clearly stated that it is their hope that simply getting a letter from a judge will eliminate the attendance problem.  Once a student/parent has been served with a Stay Petition, the Amended Petition for Order to Show Cause can be filed quickly if the attendance issue has not been resolved.
 
I have tried diligently to communicate with parents regarding attendance, but I can't get ahold of anyone, and letters are returned to the school.  Can I still file a petition?
Absolutely.  Just make sure you document each and every time you attempt contact.  The court will want to see more than just a single attempt at setting up a time to meet with parents.  Skyward can be a useful tool for documenting the efforts the school is making in parent communication.
 
Who can I contact at Juvenile Court for help and support?  Who can help me in the Cheney School District?
Jennifer Luetin is the Spokane County Juvenile Truancy Coordinator and a great resource for school administrators and attendance personnel.  Her phone number is 477-2412 and her email address is JLuiten@spokanecounty.org.  Mike Stark (559-4409) or Leeann Barton (559-4402) are both at CMS and would be glad to answer questions or help you in any way.
 
Are days that a student is suspended counted as excused or unexcused?
Days that a student is suspended should be counted as excused UNLESS the student is already under a court order to attend school, in which case they are counted as unexcused absences.
 
Can a student be suspended from school for attendance violations, such as skipping?
They can, provided that they are not under a current court order to attend school.  If a student is under a court order to attend school, suspending the student from school is not an option as a consequence.