Some schools in Richmond County have chronic absenteeism rates that are much higher than the state average.
The Augusta Chronicle used Georgia's open records law to obtain school attendance records. They show that 41 percent of the students at Craig Houghton Elementary School had at least five unexcused absences during 2010-2011. Only 36 percent of the school's students passed their science test and nearly half failed their math test.
The newspaper reported that 42 percent of the students at T.W. Josey High School missed 15 days or more. That's four times the state average. Only 46.7 percent of the school's seniors graduated.
Josey Principal Ronald Wiggins said many students are poor and from broken homes. He said some have parental problems that lead to unexcused absences.