Supes praise Truancy Reduction Program, approve MOU

Supervisors praised the Truancy Reduction Program before approving the Memorandum of Understanding between local school districts and the Lassen County Probation Department Tuesday, Oct. 13.

The MOU — between Fort Sage Unified, Lassen County Office of Education, the Susanville School District, Westwood Unified School District, Shaffer Union Elementary District and the Lassen County Probation Department — is for the Truancy Reduction Program services provided by the county probation department to the schools and school district and covers what the program will provide to the schools and the targeted population.

“This is a great program that’s been in place for a long time,” said supervisor Chris Gallagher during the Tuesday Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting. “I’m glad to see it continues to work in our schools and bring the truancy down.”

Lassen County Chief Probation Officer Jennifer Branning thanked Gallagher adding, “We’ve worked really hard at revamping the program to make sure that it’s evidence-based and we really do a lot of work at the school districts, with the families, prior to taking them through a kind of a formal system.”

According to the staff report, for the past 10 years the Truancy Reduction Program has been beneficial for the schools and school districts receiving the services provided by the Lassen County Probation

Department. This program continues to be successful as a helpful deterrent to juvenile delinquency. This agreement delineates the responsibilities of all parties including fiscal responsibilities. All the districts have already had the MOU approved by their boards and have signed the agreement. This MOU will provide for increased supervision of our Lassen County juveniles.

A portion of the salary for two and a half probation officers is $142,017, the MOU detailed, and the named districts will contribute $37,000 of the salary. Each district’s contribution is based on its demand and enrollment of students. The remainder of salary, costs and benefits will be paid by the probation department through the Juvenile Justice Prevention Grant.

Expected outcomes of the Truancy Reduction Program are to improve attendance, increase ADA funding for the schools, achieve student improvement in academics and see a reduction in juvenile crime. The program also aims to share and secure information between schools, probation and the family, have court intervention when necessary and improve overall citizenship.

The Lassen County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the MOU for the 2020/2021 fiscal year.