The real cost of kids missing school

Classroom, students (KXAN File Photo)
Classroom, students (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For school districts in Texas, when a student misses class for a day, the district loses approximately $33 that day. Regardless of a districts’ attendance rate or socioeconomic level of students, absences hurt both the student and the district.

Lake Travis Independent School District Superintendent Brad Lancaster says his district usually sees an increase in absences each year in the spring, which is a problem since that’s when schools get ready for standardized tests. If his district had perfect attendance they would get $2.6 million from the state.

“Students who miss excessive amounts of school do worse in school and are more prone to drop out,” says Lancaster.

At Elgin Independent School District, Superintendent Jodi Duron says the problems her district tackles is different than LTISD’s problems. Seventy-four percent of Elgin ISD’s students qualify for free lunch. Since most of the parents in their community work outside the city, many of the families have to leave their home by 6 a.m., which presents its own challenges.

“[Parents] they need to have a place like a day care for their kids before school starts, if not the students, and some of them as young as elementary school, will have to rely on themselves to get on the bus. And what do you do when the kid misses the bus? How do they get to school?,” asks Duron. “Elgin ISD transports over half of our student population, if they miss the bus, then getting them to school is a challenge.”

KXAN Educates, in partnership with E3 Alliance, is an initiative designed to provide parents and the community with perspective and resources to improve student progress, learning and achievement across Central Texas. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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