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Published: Thursday, 10/5/2006

TPS to continue rounding up truants

Toledo Public Schools security officers today and tomorrow will continue hauling truant students back to their schools to be counted for the official state head count conducted this week.

All school districts in Ohio are using this week to do official student head counts, which are, in part, used to determine how much state funding districts receive.

A second count for traditional public schools will be conducted in February.

Forty-seven truant Toledo students were apprehended Monday through yesterday by the district's security personnel. Twenty were from Scott High School, 12 from Libbey High School, and 11 from Woodward High School.

"The goal is to have kids in school," John Foley, interim superintendent, said. "We have done this at other times, including the Ohio Graduation Test."

Many of the students were spotted walking along streets. Mr. Foley said most admitted to cutting school.

Head count has been disappointing for the Toledo district the last several years, as its number of students has declined steadily each time.

Mr. Foley said preliminary data show the district is down 1,200 students from last school year.

Last year's official enrollment count, which was taken in October, was 30,774 students. That figure was down from 32,879 for the 2004-05 school year, and 33,866 for 2003-04.

Sixty percent of Toledo Public Schools' funding comes from the state and is directly related to the number of students and whether they are in regular classes or special education.

Each lost student means less money; districts receive substantially more for special-education students.

Charter schools, which are publicly funded and often privately run, have increased across Ohio in number and enrollment. Those schools report enrollment each month so the state can cross-reference with traditional schools.



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