HB 957 slashes the funding for school districts that have less than 93 percent student attendance on the two days that auditors make unannounced visits for headcounts. The bill requires that, when attendance is less than 93 percent on these days, neither daily membership (enrollment) nor average daily attendance be used to determine the next year’s school district funding allocation.
Instead, the student count would be determined by the headcount average attendance less the percent that the headcount was different from the enrollment that the district reported to the Mississippi Department of Education.
This provision disproportionately affects districts with a high population of low-income families who may not have transportation to school if a student misses the bus and in which both parents could work in jobs with little flexibility. It offers no recounts for good cause, such as a headcount visit during an outbreak of illness.
Attendance is important, and The Parents’ Campaign supports incentives to increase student attendance. However, this provision is extreme in its punitive nature and disproportionate in its effect on low-income communities.