House bill could change school attendance measurement for MAEP

House bill could change school attendance measurement for MAEP

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A bill that has made its way through the State House of Representatives could change the way school attendance is measured for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) formula.

House Bill 471, which is authored by Representative John Moore (R- Dist. 60), requests that the funding formula be based on enrollment, rather than daily attendance.

As it currently stands, school districts in Mississippi receive, or lose, funding based on the Average Daily Attendance (ADA). A student must be in an educational class for 63 percent of the day to be counted present, or the school district does not receive funding for that student.

Forrest County School District Superintendent Brian Freeman said, based on the ADA model, his district lost approximately $100,000 last school year. Freeman is a supporter of switching from ADA to Average Daily Membership (ADM) because it would give his district more secure budgeting.

"When we plan our budget, we plan it based on our projection of how many students we're going to have, not how many show up that particular day," he said. "By going to an ADM model, it at least secures our projections of funding."

HB 471 would base funding on how many students are enrolled and would require the state auditor to update that number for funding periodically throughout the year.

While Freeman believes the bill would mean more funding for the school, he said attendance is important for students despite the funding factor.

"We're still going to continue to try to get our children to school," he explained. "We want our children at school, because number one, we want our children to be educated. Number two, it also helps with the instructional standpoint of our teachers not having to go back and reteach or pick up and help with students who have missed."

A motion to reconsider HB 471 was entered Wednesday.