There’s a reason to be in school

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Dear Editor:

Through the calendar says it’s early August and it’s still summer, school bells will be ringing soon.

All students in grades K-12 that plan on attending a Marengo County school, will report to AL Johnson, John Essex, Marengo, or Sweet Water on Monday morning, August 16th to officially begin the 2004-2005 school year.

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There are two important reasons that every student is sitting at his or her desk on Monday.

One reason is financial and the other is academic.

There has been a growing pattern in Alabama schools in which some parents allow their children to miss the first few days of a new school year.

In many cases, the number of absences far exceed what is normal for a regular school day.

Last year in the Marengo County schools the attendance on Day 1 of the school year was 1318.

By the third day, that number had grown to 1604.

Andy by Day 10, it had reached 1670.

These numbers represent the potential loss of thousands of dollars to our school system.

This is because the greatest portion of state funding for our school system is based on attendance during the first 40 days of the school year.

The late enrollment of students has a major impact on state funding.

In Marengo County schools a student who starts school late causes the system to lose a little over $90 per day missed.

If the 352 students who were in school on Day 10 had been there on Day 1, it would have generated close to $32,000 for just that one day.

Factor in some of those late arrivals over multiple days and it is evident that the school system is losing thousands of dollars because of students not showing up when the school year begins.

We rely heavily on state funds because we are below average in local funding.

The absence from school also has a negative impact on learning.

Students who start school late start school behind.

Students not at school are giving their classmates a head start in learning.

Late arrivals take teacher time away from teaching to process them.

I urge all parents/guardians to make a special effort to have their children in school bright and early on Monday morning, August 16th.

We will be waiting with open doors.

Luke Halmark, Superintendent

Marengo County Schools