Funding lost due to senior skip day

Katie Holme, News Editor

The collective agreement amongst seniors to take part in “senior skip day” on March 15, the day before spring break, created a decline in attendance, as well as a significant amount of funding. During this senior “holiday” the school lost $17,000 from absences due to the school being funded on attendance. 

The loss in funding came from 320 absent seniors combined with additional students missing from other grades. In total 504 seniors missed one or more periods.

“Everyday that you have a scheduled class is a very important day, the school year is very limited, we have a lot of things to cover in order to prepare them for success on their tests and its vital that students are here each day,” Assistant Principal Lawrence Britton said. “They should pride themselves on getting a quality education, and taking advantage of the instruction available.” 

The TEA school accountability system in which campus distinctions are earned has influenced this year’s attendance goal. Because funding of the district and campus is sparse, the administration tries to stress the importance of attendance on campus in order to earn certain distinctions. 

“We have a projected rating that we have to try to achieve and improve each year, and if we don’t achieve the 96.5% then it is not recognized as exemplary and it knocks us back [for the following year],” Britton said. 

In order for students to gain credit for courses and eventually graduate, their attendance rate must be 90% or higher in all classes. 

“What we would like is for all our students to be here at all times,” Britton said. “We need to understand attendance is important. Attendance is tied to school funding, especially since the district is losing money. It does affect all of us, and I realized some students don’t notice that. We are losing money to provide services for them and what they need.”

Many students don’t find harm in missing school days, due to their personal lives.

“I think attendance is somewhat important but it doesn’t represent your intelligence or academic ability,” junior Clara Provenzi said. “Although it is important for technical reasons, sometimes life happens, and we all need a break sometimes.”

To further encourage attendance, staff and faculty have revised attendance incentives to make them easier to understand and more accessible. Incentives include reserved senior parking spots and exam exemptions. 

“The campus does not recognize this skip day, but we hope that our students would cherish the educational opportunities that they have and take advantage of that,” Britton said. “It is really important that they do that. The skip day does not only affect funds, but the content and education of students.” 

Administration discourages senior skip day, but many seniors still took advantage of the unofficial day. 

“I liked senior skip day because I didn’t want to be at school,” senior Andrea Bowen said. “I got to hang out with some friends, and also some places weren’t as busy as they are on the weekends and after school which was cool.”

Overall senior skip day affected the entire school, from a vacant parking lot, to empty classrooms. 

“The students not only affect themselves but other students as well,” Britton said. “I know they look at it as something of tradition, but it is tradition that we need to rethink. It is something that the district does not recognize, the campus doesn’t recognize, so we need to rethink that without hurting seniors or the campus. Attendance all around was sparse and I would estimate we lost twice as much on that particular day.”