Local districts focus on school attendance numbers for funding

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - When students in Mississippi public schools miss class, their district is losing dollars.

Average Daily Attendance (ADA) is directly linked to how much funding a school district receives.

"When a student is absent, our funding is prorated that day, based on the student," said Hattiesburg Public Schools' superintendent James Bacchus.

Student attendance is valued at 28 dollars per day, per student. When a student does not attend class for more than 63 percent of the instructional time in one day, he is considered absent, and the district loses that money.

"We encourage the parents to have children there every day as possible," said Bacchus about the importance for funding as well as educational growth.

HPS lost 400,000 dollars last year due to daily attendance. Only 40,000 of that was because of students missing the 63 percent mark, and the majority was a loss of 69 students due to district rezoning.

"40,000 is equivalent to, pretty close to a teacher's salary with benefits," explained Bacchus.

Forrest County School District saw a loss of over 100,000. Their ADA is the same as Hattiesburg's at 95 percent.

Laurel schools also have an ADA of 95 percent, and their funding dipped by 75,000 dollars over the past year.

Bacchus said any loss in funding hurts the school district, but the district is working alongside its Student Attendance Review Board and others to make sure parents and students alike understand the importance of being in class.

"We want to make sure that we have the support that a parent needs to get the child to school every day," he said.

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