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Chicago Schools CEO Vows To Address Truancy Problem

Barbara Byrd-Bennett discusses her appointment as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, replacing Jean-Claude Brizard. (Credit: CBS)

Barbara Byrd-Bennett discusses her appointment as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, replacing Jean-Claude Brizard. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s public schools chief is promising to tackle a major truancy problem.

Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett says she and her staff must find a way to reduce the number of students skipping school.

The Chicago Tribune found that in the 2010-2011 school year, nearly 32,000 elementary school students missed four or more weeks of classes.

“It was one of the very first things that I said to our team, ‘We have to absolutely take a look at this,’ ’’ said Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

“I didn’t have any data at my disposal at that moment, but knowing and having worked in systems similar to Chicago, I know that’s an issue.”

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, who chairs the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, said she wants to find a way to get more students to stop missing school.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya Reports