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Where Are the Empty Seats in Newport-Mesa Schools?

But studies show that students like these, who miss a significant amount of school, are more likely to perform poorly on reading and math tests, drop out of school early or develop health problems, among other complications. Most researchers are accustomed to seeing high levels of absence in low-income neighborhoods, where the odds are often against its students.

In the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, where the student population is split between low- and high-income areas of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, chronic absence has hit both income levels just as hard over the last three years, according to district data reviewed by the Register. These are the students who missed at least 10 percent of their school year and who will suffer both academically and socially because of it.