April 22, 2021 Email: Attendance Counts Again

Posted by Tim Savoy on 4/22/2021

Dear Hays CISD Family,

As we continue to make progress in our fight against the pandemic, we are starting to see things return to normal. And, that includes the state again linking our district funding to attendance. This means during the final six weeks of classes this year, we need our students who have selected in-person learning to physically be present on campus as much as possible. Virtual learners are always welcome to come to campus, but we will be able to meet our state attendance requirements with our in-person students. Virtual learners most definitely should continue to be engaged in their studies online. 

Let me emphasize that attendance is first and foremost about students being present to receive the full educational experience we promise in Hays CISD. That’s the most important consideration. I want students to be present in their classes (in-person or virtual) because I don’t want them to miss out on anything. Also, if students are genuinely ill or not able to make it to school, families should make decisions that are best for their loved-ones, even if that means an absence from school.

In Texas, education funding is tied to attendance in a significant way. So, it does matter in terms of the impact on the fiscal operation of the school district. For example, if we don’t meet our attendance target set by the state this year, which requires our final six weeks in-person attendance to be greater than our in-person attendance at our snapshot date last October, Hays CISD could lose up to $7 million. That is important money that allows us to pay our teachers, buy supplies, and offer our students the best possible resources. It’s also your money. Every dollar the state has in its coffers is money that comes from you and other taxpayers. Your children are due that $7 million and we want to bring it back home so they can benefit from it. We can do that by meeting the attendance target.

Each of our campuses will be communicating to you a variety of attendance incentive programs they have created. It’ll be similar to what you see during every normal school year. I know it’s not the most popular messaging – attendance tied to school funding – but, in a strange way, it’s nice to see us take a step back to the familiar. Here’s hoping we continue to take steps that, once and for all, put this pandemic behind us.

Dr. Eric Wright
Superintendent of Schools