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July 13, 2021

City to fine students up to $500 for cutting class

When I was in high school and, um, mismanaged my course schedule, there was a robocaller that dialled home just as my family sat for dinner.

The idea: rat me out. The attendance system at school noticed my absence, and placed an automatic call to home so my parents would be well aware of my truancy.

Of course, this led to what every student should master, the Three-Pronged “Deny, Deny, Deny” Defence, but the point is, stiffer penalties could be had for kids skipping class.

Like, maybe, this.

Remarkably, Concord, Calif., City Council members passed a radical policy last night that will result in fining teenagers that cut school.

The mayor of Concord, which has reportedly faced problems with absentee students, said the city has been the victim of vandalism and general mischief with high truancy rates.

Neighbouring towns in the Bay Area have experimented with daytime curfews during the school year, a local ABC affiliate notes, and a reduction in absenteeism has resulted.

But Concord will take it one step further. After a general warning, students will be fined up to $100 for the first truancy offence, up to $200 for the second and up to $500 for the third. It will now be illegal for any child under 18 to be found out of school during the day without a valid excuse.

Where a high school student is to come up with $500 isn’t mentioned, nor are proposed penalties for what happens if kids don’t pay.

Yet what’s most glaring here is the lack of what this story may all be about, which is finding another revenue stream for a cash-strapped school board.

Fining students might be awfully good way to drum up some extra money, and just look, people everywhere are having to get creative during tough times: the CBC might be making cuts, and another California city is considering a cat tax – charging $25 to register each San Diego feline, as a means of “cost recovery” for taxpayers.

Charging truant students: good idea or way overboard?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...