AUSTIN (KXAN) — School districts across the region lose over $90 million in funding every year due to school absences.
Business leaders are joining in the school discussion explaining why missing school matters. Bobby Jenkins, President of ABC Home and Commerical Services joined us in the KXAN studio with Dr. Joshua Childs, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Texas.
“We definitely have a problem in Central Texas,” said Jenkins. “Students suffer academically from poor attendance. They can fall behind and stay behind.”
When students miss not only do they fall behind, but so do teachers who are forced to play catch-up in the classroom.
By reducing absences in the region three days per student each year Central Texas Schools districts would save $34,000,000. With this additional money, schools could afford more extracurricular activities, coaches, counselors, and hire additional teachers.
“Attending school daily creates routine and discipline skills that are necessary in the workforce,” said Childs.
Chronic absenteeism is different than truancy, which is unexcused absences only. It is a combination of excused absences plus unexcused absences and suspensions. Childs said this issue is important because chronic absenteeism is a huge predictor of poor educational and life outcomes.
“Businesses like mine where we have a strong regional presence can help,” said Jenkins. “I have partnered with E3 Alliance to make sure I help our employees and our customers know about the importance of helping kids develop the habits of daily attendance and have tips and best practices to support that.”
E3 data shows high school students who miss 10 days are three times more likely to drop out than a student who missed five days.