City of San Antonio wants to renew program that helps schools combat absences

Of the 14 case managers, five positions are funded through grant money.

SAN ANTONIO — The City of San Antonio wants to continue with a program aimed at keeping students in school. 

After ten unexcused absences, San Antonio Municipal Court gets involved. That’s when case managers with the ‘Truancy Intervention and Prevention program’ work directly with students and schools to try to combat the problem. 

Of the 14 case managers, five positions are funded through grant money. On Thursday, San Antonio City Council chose to reapply for grant money through the state to fund those positions. 

“Right now, we are providing mediation services for about nine different school districts,” said Judge Carla Obledo, the presiding judge for the San Antonio Municipal Court. “We do that three days a week all day long here at the court, and that’s mainly during the school year. We also, year round have a docket for kids that are did not graduate that have kind of dropped off  everybody’s radar.”

 The program has been funded for the past seven years, but Judge Obledo explains case managers are having to tackle problems she believes were exacerbated by the pandemic. 

“We are seeing a lot of of students, unfortunately, that are facing some mental health issues  and quite a few more that that the schools are trying to address,” Obledo said. “One of the other issues that we’re seeing more of as well are some of these students, in addition to having to go to school, they’re actually supporting their families. We’re also seeing, kids that are concerned, and it goes back to the mental health issue about gun violence in their schools, which is causing a lot of anxiety for students when they attend school.”

Last year, San Antonio Municipal Court launched the ‘Attendance Matters’ campaign to provide resources regarding truancy. 

“We do see those kids that aren’t engaged in school, unfortunately, they do end up in juvenile court,” Obledo said. “But since they are juveniles, we can’t access a lot of those records.”

The five juvenile case managers are funded through this year. The application to receive over 400 thousand dollars now heads to the Criminal Justice Division of the Office of the Governor for approval. The city will know by this summer if it’ll receive funding for those positions next year. 

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