Legislature’s new policy sets requirements for ‘absent’ or ‘present’
By Rupert Howell
South Panola school parents and students alike have been alerted and warned by Superintendent Tim Wilder that students missing more than 37 percent of the instructional school day must be considered absent the entire day.
And just how much of a day is 37 percent of an instructional day?
It varies, according to Wilder who told his board of trustees at their monthly meeting Tuesday night that a parent could check out two children from different schools, and one could be considered absent while the other considered present for the day.
Wilder admitted that ADA (average daily attendance) was the motivation behind the House Bill. ADA is the multiplier used by the state to compensate school districts for teacher salaries, the district’s largest expense.
Wilder shared a letter sent to all district parents that the policy comes from Mississippi House Bill 1530.
Attached to Wilder’s letter was formulas for each of the district’s schools that would be used to determine how the percentage of attendance would be figured at that particular school.
Each formula includes the total number of instruction minutes minus time spent in recess, lunch, class changes and non-instructional time. Consideration is given to students who are not at school but are involved in school related sanctioned activities.
Wilder’s correspondence instructs parents to contact individual schools for further assistance.