Roll call today affects next year’s budgets

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reminder: Andalusia City Schools will dismiss at noon Wednesday for parent-teacher conferences.

Attendance is “vital” today at area schools, officials said Monday.

Each year, systems are required to submit 40-day numbers that record average daily membership (ADM), or daily enrollment.

Those numbers, which are gathered based on the first 20 days after Labor Day, are used to determine the level of state funding for a system – which includes teacher salaries – for the following fiscal year.

Today, Oct. 1, is count day.

Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson said Monday, “Attendance (today) is vital. Our funding is determined by what that count is. Every child represents dollars. It sounds like a cold way to say it, but it’s true.”

Opp City Schools Superintendent Michael Smithart agreed.

“The 20-day after Labor Day enrollment report is crucial,” Smithart said. “Those numbers will be used to determine our Average Daily Membership (ADM) from which our state funding is calculated.

“We essentially earn our state funding based upon those numbers,” he said. “These numbers are critical to us, and we will know early on what we can expect as far as earned teacher units provided the divisors don’t change.”

Smithart said that the attendance aspect has changed since Alabama’s accountability waiver request has been approved.

“Under the previous guidelines, a school’s attendance goal for AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) was determined by this report,” he said. “That is no longer the case. Under the approved waiver, attendance is calculated for the entire school year and then a determination is made as to whether or not a school met its goal. It places a much greater emphasis on attendance throughout the year and rightfully so.”

At the Covington County School System, Superintendent Shannon Drive said Oct. 1 also means the start of a new fiscal year.

“Starting (today) we’re operating on a new budget,” he said. “That means that everything from teacher fee money to local allocations to Title I funding and event all new teacher contracts start (today).”