By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

School attendance turns into money

Officials say enroll and show up for class


September 5, 2019

How many teacher units the state of Alabama provides a school for next year depends on the Average Daily Membership of students for the first 20 days after Labor Day, which began Tuesday.

Flomaton Elementary School Principal George Brown and Flomaton High School Principal Scott Hammond said it's very important for parents not only to have their children enrolled in school, but to also attend school.

Both principals said attendance is not only crucial for a school's state report card, but noted students can't learn if they are not in school. Hammond said the high school started this year with 497 students, up from the 464 at the end of the last school year. He said reaching 500 would help the school gain additional state-paid teacher units.

Brown said Flomaton Elementary School lost a teacher unit this year based on last year's Average Daily Membership during those first 20 days after Labor Day.

The elementary school began the 2018-19 school year with 367 students and ended the year with 390. Currently the school has 391 registered which doesn't include the 18 in pre-kindergarten. He said the teaching units for the current year were based on the 367 students last year during the Average Daily Membership.

“We had to transfer a teacher,” Brown said. “The county does come in and supplement and they do all they can.”

Like Hammond, Brown said the school's state report card is based strictly on attendance, meaning students need to come to school.

“If they are not here they are not learning,” Brown said. “Sickness is one thing but other absences, such as vacations, is not acceptable.

Brown said if the current numbers hold true for the first 20 days it looks good for Flomaton Elementary School to get that teacher unit back from the state.

Escambia County School Superintendent John Knott said the school system lost 3.88 state-funded teacher units from last year to this year due to the Average Daily Membership totals from last year.

Knott did say that the school system does fund about 17 or 18 teacher units above the state allocation using local funds noting each unit costs about $80,000 when the salary and benefits are included.

“It's extremely important for students to be enrolled and to attend school,” Knott said. “It gets tough sometimes to fill teacher units with local funds.”


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