Bill ensures school funding after attendance decreases during pandemic

Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 5:54 PM CST
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MOSELLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Legislators passed a bill that ensures schools won’t face severe budget cuts due to inconsistencies in student attendance because of the pandemic last year.

Education advocacy group Parents’ Campaign explained the importance of this bill for every school district.

Nancy Loome is executive director of the Parents’ Campaign, which tracks education policies. She said student attendance has everything to do with a school’s state funding.

“School districts receive their state funding based on a per-student amount,” Loome said. “They receive a certain amount of funding per student, but that student count is not based on current year enrollment. It is based on attendance, the attendance counted in the prior September and October.”

By passing SB 2149 Tuesday afternoon, state leaders made sure districts won’t lose funds because of COVID-19 impacts on students and school districts last fall. Loome said after the governor’s signature, this bill will allow the state to base state funding for schools on the attendance of fall 2019.

“Unless the school district saw an increase in attendance this past fall, and in that case the district would receive the funding based on the higher attendance count,” Loome said.

Loome said without this bill, almost every district would see severe budget cuts.

“They wouldn’t be able to hire enough teachers, class sizes would be very large,” Loome said. “We absolutely need to make sure that our districts are receiving funding based on an appropriate number of students and that is exactly what SB2149 is designed to do.”

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