Transportation woes fuel chronic absenteeism in Yonkers schools: Report

Transportation is one of the leading causes of chronic absenteeism in Yonkers Public Schools, the state’s fourth-largest school district. 

The Yonkers School District is made up of 25,000 students.

Data from Yonkers Public Schools revealed that nearly 48% of students were chronically absent from class in the 2022 to 2023 school year. In comparison, nationally, 26% of students were considered chronically absent from school, according to The American Enterprise Institute

A child who misses 10% or about 18 days of school per year is considered chronically absent.

"One of the reasons why kids weren’t coming to school is because they didn’t have access to clean clothing. Not something I would have thought would be one of the push factors we’d have to concern ourselves with," Interim Superintendent Dr. Luis Rodriguez said.

File image of a school bus. via Getty Images

Dr. Rodriguez says that revelation was one of many discovered last month by his assistant superintendent, who put together a presentation titled "Attendance Matters," identifying problems and trying to fix them. The district found that students in kindergarten and high school were absent the most.

Other leading contributing factors include habits formed during the pandemic, including remote learning.

By engaging with the community, and addressing the chronic absenteeism, so far for this school year, the chronic absenteeism percentage in Yonkers is down by nearly 9%. 

Dr. Rodriguez says interventions, family engagement, attendance initiatives and rewards, and even washers and dryers in school buildings, so kids have access to clean clothes are all part of the solution.