School Attendance Review Board (SARB)

School Attendance Review Board (SARB)

California compulsory education law requires everyone between the ages of 6 and 18 years of age to attend school, except 16 and 17 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. Other students have excused absences in excess of 10% which is labelled chronic absenteeism. Although truancy and chronic absenteeism are not new problems, they cause costly, long-term problems to the students, school, and the community.

In 1974, the Legislature enacted a statute 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. This statute created School Attendance Review Board (SARBs), composed of representatives from various youth-serving agencies, to help truant, chronically absent or recalcitrant students and their parents or guardians solve school attendance and behavior problems through the use of available school and community resources. Although the goal of SARB is to keep students in school and provide them with a meaningful educational experience, SARB does have the power, when necessary, to refer students and their parents or guardians to court.

El Dorado County SARB has remained active since the legislation from the 1970’s and serves all districts in the county. Hearings are conducted both on the Western Slope and in South Lake Tahoe. Schools who have exhausted their interventions and have legally notified families that their child’s attendance is in violation of law can then refer them to SARB. In the initial SARB hearing, the school presents the case to the Board and then the Board discusses the situation with the student, parents, and the school. After the initial assessment, the Board makes orders called Directives. These written and signed Directives delineate what the Board is requiring the school and family to do to rectify the situation. In addition to attendance orders, common Directives include: 

  • Student is required to participate in academic supports
  • Student is required to take the school bus to school
  • Parent is required to attend parent/teacher conference or other school meeting as needed
  • Student is required to participate in counseling or substance abuse groups
  • Student is required to change schools
  • Parent is required to attend parenting classes
  • Parent is required to escort student to classes
  • Parent is required to limit student privileges such as electronics

If the Directives are not followed and the attendance continues to be problematic, the Board has the ability to refer adolescent students to Probation and/or send parents to court. Current penalties are from small fines (Education Code 48290) to jail time and a maximum of a $2000 fine (Penal Code 270.1).

SARB Resources

For more information, please contact:

Sheila Silan, Program Coordinator  
School Attendance Review Board
El Dorado County Office of Education
6767 Green Valley Road
Placerville, CA 95667
FAX 530-317-3466
Peggy Ralphs, SARB Secretary II
El Dorado County Office of Education
Placerville, CA 95667
FAX 530-317-3466