provides 180 days of instruction for the nearly 8,000 students who began their first day of school on Aug. 22. If every child attended school each of those 180 days, not only would academic achievement increase but also the funding for the school district.
In 1998, the law changed and school districts are now only provided funding when a student attends school. Prior to this date, schools were funded regardless if the student was sick, were at a doctor’s appointment, had a family emergency, or other “excused” absences.
For the 2011-12 school year, NUSD “lost” $1,764,688.38 in funding due to student absences from a variety of reasons including illness, truancy, and family vacations or travel taken during school periods rather than school breaks.
We acknowledge that 100 percent attendance is unattainable as students do become ill and there are unavoidable instances when a student must be out of school; however, consider the following:
- One day of absence equates to $40 per day, per student
- Approximately nine days of absence per student or nine student days equates one day of pay for an average teacher
- On an average school day, 244 students are absent equating to a loss of $9,786.84
- On a day before a holiday break, the Monday following a break or a three-day weekend, an average of 235 to 313 students are absent or an increase of 3 to 4 percent
Some ways to assure that your student is in school as much as possible while helping the district with its state funding could be:
- Schedule family travel/vacations during the summer and school breaks
- For time away from school for five to 15 days, arrange for a Short Independent Study
- Schedule medical appointments after school
- Check your student’s attendance online or with the school’s office manager to determine that attendance days are correctly recorded
- For extended illness, work with the school office and/or teacher so that the student can receive home and/or hospital instructional support
- Have your child attend at least part of the day when it is necessary to otherwise be out of school
As a district, we are exploring technology solutions that will help students receive the instructional content and support when they’re unable to attend school. We are also working with state leaders to address the funding formula should the student receive instructional content other than seat time in the classroom.
We appreciate your efforts in helping the district maximize funding.
— Karen Maloney, Chief Financial Officer