Police Jury approves contract to continue truancy center

Calcasieu Parish police jurors approved a contract on Thursday that provides $189,000 in state funds to continue operations at the parish’s Truancy Assessment and Service Center, which is designed to help at-risk students in grades K-5.

The contract between the truancy center and the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement provides the funding needed to serve 33 schools throughout the parish, said Dane Bolin, director of the parish Office of Juvenile Justice Services. The TASC investigates student referrals from teachers or principals and interviews the children and their families to find out why a student is not in school.

“We’re the only program that’s been measured, and the data is performance-based and actually works,” he said. “Every report that comes out for Calcasieu shows that once we intervene with the family, the child’s truancy rate declines.”

Bill Sommers, juvenile justice assistant director, said 340 students were referred to the TASC in 2012.

Bolin said the center, which has been operating since 2001, has seen about $50,000 in funding cuts over the last two years.

In addition to paying for operating expenses, Bolin said, some of the funding is set aside to give students school uniforms or supplies. He said TASC officials visit the schools at the beginning of the school year and hand out water bottles and brochures that explain the truancy program.

Member appointed

The National Association of Counties recently appointed District 4 Police Juror Tony Guillory to serve on its Community and Economic Development Steering Committee.

The Police Jury Association of Louisiana nominated Guillory to serve on the committee. He will also serve on the Housing, Economic Development and Workforce subcommittees. Guillory said he will work on getting local projects funded by certain grant programs like the Community Development Block Grant program, the Home Investment Partnerships program and the Workforce Investment Act program.

The appointment runs through July 31.