Nebo School District officials said Wednesday that their controversial citizenship policy had been responsible for the smoothest beginning of a school year any of them can remember.

"The teachers are more able to teach, and the students are achieving more in their programs," Phil Bird, Springville High School principal, said in a principal's meeting Wednesday.The year-old policy was designed to cut absenteeism by giving unsatisfactory citizenship grades to students who skipped or were late for class more than 10 percent of the time. District officials say the policy has cut truancy by 70 percent.

But a group of angry parents says the $15 fine for the makeup class - one way of clearing an unsatisfactory grade from a student's record - is unfair. They say teachers abuse the policy and award unsatisfactory grades unfairly.

Paul Clint, parents group spokesman, said he is tired of being ignored by the Nebo Board of Education. "They have ignored our complaints and petitions. Our next steps will be to try to elect our own candidate to the board and to apply personal and legal pressure to Nebo officials," he said in an interview Tuesday.