WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) _ Student absences in Waterbury jumped by 11 percent last year as local school officials blame new state rules allowing parents and guardians to sign off on the first nine days of absences unquestioned.

Waterbury school officials had previously excused absences for a few reasons such as a death in the family, religious holiday or illness. Proof could be required.

The state Board of Education passed new definitions for excused and unexcused absences in June 2012.

The Republican American reports (http://bit.ly/1fCjG7e ) that school officials believe the increase in absences is driven by a 45 percent increase in excused absences.

Last school year marked an abrupt reversal of city absenteeism, which had been declining for years. That trend was helped by initiatives such as counselors, mentors and a truancy court.

Information from: Republican-American, http://www.rep-am.com

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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