AUGUSTA, Maine — Officials say the truancy rate in the schools in Augusta dropped by about 36 percent in the just-ending school year.

Officials say the effort to curtail truancy in Augusta schools was aided by creating a position to work with parents and students to keep students in school and, when all else fails, force parents of truant students into court.

The first “reintegration specialist” at Cony High School, Chad Strout, was hired last September.

The Kennebec Journal says Strout monitors student absences and works with students and families to encourage attendance when students reach the state-mandated limit for unexcused absences.

The state describes a habitually truant student as an individual who reaches the equivalent of 10 full days, or seven consecutive days, of unexcused absences.