Pupils who cross council boundaries on placing requests have turned out to be untouchable in the courts if they fail to attend school.
Attendance officers in West Dunbartonshire discovered they have no powers to pursue parents from a neighbouring authority through the district court and are said to be "extremely frustrated".
Problems have arisen at St Columba's and St Andrew's high schools in Clydebank which accept pupils from the Drumchapel and Yoker areas of Glasgow.
Bob Cook, education and leisure services manager, said: "We are not talking about huge numbers but it is significant in view of the publication of league tables. It is thwarting the efforts of schools to get attendance figures up."
Mr Cook said legislation placed the onus to prosecute on the council where parents reside. West Dunbartonshire can bring parents before attendance councils but cannot take the matter further. Glasgow is about to sign a reciprocal agreement under which it will step in.