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NIAGARA FALLS – Getting new students registered for school and getting existing students to show up for their classes were on the minds of city School Board members at their Thursday night review meeting.

Assessment Administrator Marcia Capone told board members that a new method of centralized registration of students for the whole school district soon will replace the present system of individual registration at each of the city’s public school buildings. She said centralized registration will take place in an administrative office at the school district headquarters, 630 66th St.

Information Services Administrator Darlene Sprague explained that existing students in the Niagara Falls school system do not have to re-register; their registrations are “rolled over” automatically from one year to the next. The new system is for new students who have moved into the district and are being registered for the first time and for those who are moving from one school to another or whose registration information is being changed.

Sprague said the new one-stop registration center would be more convenient for families and would reduce the number of errors in the registration paperwork.

Public Relations Director Judie Gregory-Glaser said the new system probably will be put into place during the coming month.

Sensing a truancy problem among the 7,000 or so students in Niagara Falls city schools, board members also heard reports from the Rev. Jimmie Seright, executive director of the New Jerusalem Reporting Center for Boys and program director of SNUG – GUNS spelled backwards – and from Ron Cunningham, a school truancy officer and community activist.

“We’ve got to get serious about this truancy problem,” Cunningham said. “Every kid we lose from school is an insult to America.”

Cunningham said he has worked with about 200 students with truancy problems. Cunningham, who makes multiple visits to the homes of students who fail to show up for their classes, said, “These are not just student problems; there are multiple problems in their homes and among their families.”

“The solutions require everybody to be on deck: the schools, families, social service agencies, the police, probation officers and others,” he said.

email: baldwin@buffnews.com