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Sen. Picard: No school, no welfare

April 9, 2014

PROVIDENCE – Kids who chronically bunk school, missing more than 36 unexcused days a year, could jeopardize their family’s welfare benefits under legislation sponsored by Woonsocket Sen. Roger Picard.
Picard told the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday that all the students in a family receiving public assistance would have to maintain an 80 percent attendance rate for the family to remain eligible to collect cash and medical benefits. Based on a school year of 180 days, that would mean a student would have to be missing from school for 36 days – not including time off for illness or injury – before provisions of the proposed law would kick in.
Picard, who is an attendance officer for Woonsocket elementary schools, said the proposal was brought to him by a constituent who he didn’t name but identified as a former member of the Woonsocket School Committee.
Opponents of the bill said making sure kids go to school is a laudable goal, but cutting off needed benefits to the family is not the way to go about it. Read the rest of this story in Thursday's Call.

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