Lake Elsinore Unified School District

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Child Welfare and Attendance » School Attendance Review Board (SARB)

School Attendance Review Board (SARB)



Bert Merlo

Coordinator, Child Welfare and Attendance (CWA)





Monique Ramsey

SARB Liaison



Shanah Tompkins

SARB Liaison



What is the purpose of SARB?


The purpose of the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) is to build relationships with students and families in order to mitigate the barriers that students face in attending school. SARB is used as a positive intervention to improve graduation rates and reduce dropout rates for students with continuous attendance challenges. During the SARB meeting, comprehensive services and referrals to community agencies can be offered to students and families who need intensive help beyond what the district can provide. 

The SARB process begins at the school. The school can do the following:

  • Phone calls or letters to the parent
  • Parent meetings with the counselor, teacher, or administrator
  • Attendance contract with the student, school, and parent
  • School Attendance Review Team (SART) meetings

If the student's attendance does not improve after these steps are taken, the student is referred to SARB.

What happens at the SARB hearing?

  • The school Assistant Principal or counselor reports on the attendance record.
  • SARB members ask the student and parent to explain why the student is not going to school.
  • SARB members make recommendations to assist the family and student.


How do you get help from SARB?

  • Call your school and speak to the counselor, Assistant Principal, or Principal for a referral.
  • Call or email Children and Family Services at LEUSD and speak to SARB Liaisons
  • Monique Ramsey 951-805-2357 SARB Liaison
  • Shanah Tompkins 951-805-5933 SARB Liaison

What can SARB recommend for students?

  • Help students find employment.
  • Counseling programs for the student and/or family.
  • Parenting classes to support parents.
  • A student transfer to an alternative school or program.
  • Assistance from other agencies and programs (counseling, support and mental health)
  • After-school tutoring.

Facts related to nonattendance…

  • Parents allow their children to be absent more on Mondays and Fridays.
  • Parents allow their children to stay home because of inclement weather, the day after a school holiday and for the parents’ convenience.
  • Students who ride the bus to school are absent more frequently than students within walking distance from school.
  • Students who do not eat breakfast are absent more than students who do.


  • Set a regular bedtime and morning routine.
  • Lay out clothes and pack backpack the night before.
  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required shots.
  • Introduce your child to her teachers and classmates before school starts to help her transition. • Don’t let your child stay home unless she is truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomachache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make her feel comfortable and excited about learning.
  • Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.



Specific laws related to attendance:

  • Education Code, Section 48200. Students between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend school.
  • Education Code, Section 48260. A student is a habitual truant when he/she is absent from school without an excuse three full days in one school year or tardy or absent for more than any 30minute period during the school day three times.
  • Education Code, Section 48263. Truant students may be referred to SARB.
  • Education Code, Section 48293(a). A parent or guardian may be held responsible if a student does not follow the SARB contract.
  • Truancy Ordinance. A city ordinance which allow law enforcement to cite students who are not in school.




What is SARB


The School Attendance Review Board (SARB) was established by legislation in California in 1975 for the purpose of:

1.      Making a better effort to meet the needs of students with attendance problems in school; and,

2.      Promoting the use of alternatives to the juvenile court system.

SARB is specifically charged with finding solutions to resolve student attendance or discipline problems.


SARB seeks to understand why students are experiencing attendance or discipline problems and serves as a vehicle to correct these problems



What are the ages of students who can be referred to SARB?


California education code requires students between the ages of 6-18 to attend school daily. SARB has the discretion to accept referrals for students within this age range, but earlier intervention has proven to be the most effective. For this reason, factors such as age, credits towards graduation, and extent of intervention at the school site level are all considered when a decision is being made regarding acceptance of a specific high school case. Historically, the juvenile court would not accept referrals for students older than 16 years of age, but they have softened this rule and will consider older students in some cases. Please contact our office if you have questions about a specific case."


Who identifies students who have attendance problems?


The attendance clerk, through weekly reports and family contacts, identifies students with attendance concerns. The clerk should run excessive absence reports on a regular basis and provide to the site Attendance Team to begin interventions.


Who sends out the Notification of Truancy letter?


Schools are currently responsible for sending all letters.


What if a student has excessive illnesses that the nurse feels are unjustified?


The nurse has two letters that address illnesses. The first letter requires verification by a doctor or school nurse for future absences to be excused. If the nurse determines the illnesses are not legitimate, the absences should be coded as Unexcused if there is no doctor verification. Medical notes should be specific as to the amount of time being excused. The nurse's letters are valid for one year from the date sent.


What is SARB's responsibility when a student transfers to another school district?


SARB will contact the receiving school/district and inform them of the active case.


Do school personnel participate in SARB hearings?


It is required that the referring counselor or administrator attend the hearing so he/she can present the case, assist in the development of the SARB contract and follow through with the site responsibilities.


Can special education students be referred?


Yes. The IEP Team must determine that attendance is not part of the student's disability and that it is an appropriate referral. The IEP must be current.