SACRAMENTO -- Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, has introduced legislation sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris to address chronic truancy.

Assembly Bill 1643 would require every county office of education in the state to have a School Attendance Review Board to provide alternatives to the juvenile justice system for truant students. Currently, such boards are voluntary.

These boards can provide training, guidance and oversight to similar groups at the district level by identifying attendance or suspension patterns and helping to develop prevention strategies before student hearings or referrals to District Attorneys.

The cost of truancy to Alameda and Contra Costa Counties is approximately $80,020,789, according to the Attorney General's office. In Contra Costa County, 28 percent of elementary school students were truant in 2011-12.