Truancy Ordinance Tabled With No Discussion
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[December 04, 2007]
There was no need for anyone to
say anything. The size of the crowd -- huge -- spoke for itself.
When it came time to put the truancy ordinance on the floor,
ordinance chairman Marty Neitzel merely said, "I'd like to table
Citizens concerned about potential negative effects that a truancy
ordinance might have on some children and parents have been trying
work with the city on the ordinance.
For most of a year now the
city has been trying to get a truancy ordinance on the books. The
ordinance is intended to help school authorities keep more students
Prior to any ordinance and still, schools operate and are
regulated under the state school code, which does address truancy.
However, the state of Illinois passed a public act in July 2006
that would give counties and municipalities more ability to enforce
the regulations locally and possibly bring chronic truants back into
the classroom. Local ordinances could define a "truant" and add
penalties for violators.
A group that is mostly composed of people who support
home-schooling has been trying to work with the ordinance committee
on a truancy ordinance. They have concerns about how the ordinance
might affect them and their children. There have been concerns about
how the regulations might affect the children when they are not
inside the confines of a school building, as other children would be
during school hours.
Also, they have considered and are concerned as to how
implementation might be managed.
They worked with the county on writing the county ordinance. They
would like to work with the council on how the city ordinance is
written. Last week they presented an ordinance that the committee
At last week's committee meeting the group presented an
ordinance, and another one just written by city attorney Bill Bates
was presented. The one Bates wrote was based on information Alderman
Neitzel received at a recent statewide conference. Neitzel had him
custom-write the ordinance for Lincoln.
During Bates' evaluation of the differences between the group's
proposed ordinance, the one he wrote and the one that the county
passed, he commented that the county ordinance had gotten too
diluted and would not be as effective.
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The committee moved to recommend to the council the ordinance
that Bates wrote. It was put on the agenda for Monday night's voting
This week the group was back, but it had grown about four of five
times the size of last week's attendance -- big.
A few minutes into last night's meeting, the matter was opened.
Neitzel immediately made a motion to table the matter. The council
agreed by vote of 10-0.
No more was said.
The meeting continued to the next matter. Mayor Beth Davis-Kavelman
suggested that anyone who wanted to leave could at that time.
Most of the group filed out, a few stayed, and some came in from
the overflow. Those who came in brought children and appeared
interested in how the council would conduct the rest of their
Neitzel said after the meeting that an agreement had already been
reached in advance of the meeting. She said that she and Regional
Superintendent of Schools Jean Anderson would sit down with the
group again to try to work out an ordinance agreeable to all. After
the holidays, she added.
[By JAN YOUNGQUIST]
State of Illinois Public Act 094-1011 -- An act concerning truant
See: Logan County Truancy Ordinance,
passed on July 17, 2007
Past related articles:
Past letter to the