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Callaway County to establish truancy court

Callaway County to establish truancy court

April 13th, 2018 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

New Fulton Public Schools Board of Education members Jackie Pritchett, left, and Leah Baker are sworn in Wednesday by Superintendent Jacque Cowherd. Verdis Lee Sr. was selected as the board president, Andy Bonderer as vice persident and Emily Omohundro as secretary.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /Fulton Sun.

Fulton Public Schools' new board of education members were sworn in Wednesday evening.

During the April 4 election, Fulton voters chose Leah Baker and Jackie Pritchett as new board members, filling the seats formerly occupied by Kristi Donohue and Dennis Depping. Depping chose not to run again after 12 years on the board.

Superintendent Jacque Cowherd thanked Donohue and Depping for their service.

Board members also voted to select new leaders. Verdis Lee Sr. was selected as board president, Andy Bonderer as vice president and Emily Omohundro as secretary. Nicole J. Hudson was reappointed as board treasurer.

Truancy court

After swearing in new members, the board addressed other business.

Callaway County will soon have a truancy court to help address chronic absenteeism, to Fulton Middle School principal Beth Houf, said.

"We're targeting middle school, because if you wait until high school, it's too late," she said during Wednesday's board of education meeting.

Houf said student absences are one of the big challenges facing her school. Current measures — such as having teachers call parents when students miss multiple days — just aren't enough.

The district has been working with Judge Sue Crane, William Woods University, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ben Miller and the other school districts to arrange the court, which is currently slated to take place on Thursdays. Mentors to help participating families meet attendance goals will be provided through WWU, she said.

"There are a lot of moving parts and partners on this," Miller said. "We are still hammering out details."

An announcement with more details about how the court will function is coming soon, he said.