The mission of the Sweetwater Union High School District’s School Attendance Review Board (SARB) is to help and keep students in school and attend school regularly to receive their educational instruction to pass their courses and graduate from high school. Sweetwater collaborates with community based organizations and local agencies to develop long term, pro-active strategies for students to succeed in life academically and socially, promoting a safe school environment for all students and staff.

California compulsory education law requires everyone between the ages of six and eighteen years of age to attend school, except sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds who have graduated from high school or passed the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) and obtained parental permission to leave. Some students, however, violate compulsory education laws and have a pattern of unexcused absences. Although truancy and excessive absenteeism are not new problems, they cause costly, long-term problems for the students, school, and the community.

In 1974, the Legislature enacted California Education Code (EC) Section 48320 to enhance the enforcement of compulsory education laws and to divert students with school attendance or behavior problems from the juvenile justice system until all available resources have been exhausted. EC Section 48321 provides several organizational structures for School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs) at the local and county level to create a safety net for students with persistent attendance or behavior problems. Although the goal of SARBs is to keep students in school and provide them with a meaningful educational experience, SARBs do have the power, when necessary, to refer students and their parents or guardians to court.

County or Local SARBs

School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs), composed of representatives from various youth-serving agencies, help truant or recalcitrant students and their parents or guardians solve school attendance and behavior problems through the use of available school and community resources. County SARBs are convened by the county superintendent at the beginning of each school year. In any county where no county SARB exists, a school district governing board may elect to establish a local SARB, which shall operate in the same manner and have the same authority as a county SARB. In many counties, the county SARB provides consultant services to the local SARBs.

State SARB

In addition to county and local SARBs authorized by EC Section 48321, EC Section 48325 established a State SARB for statewide policy coordination and personnel training to divert students with serious attendance and behavior problems from the juvenile justice system and to reduce the number of dropouts in the state public education system. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) extends invitations of participation to representatives of appropriate groups throughout the state. The State SARB makes annual recommendations to the SSPI regarding the needs of high-risk youth.