You may have heard in the recent news headlines, or remember from correspondence earlier this school year, that State Aid to public school districts in New Jersey is now impacted by the attendance rate of the students. The State informed us of this new practice after they implemented the change. We took the State’s new practice into consideration when we developed the school calendar this past year, we’ve made changes to our attendance policy, enhanced our communication with parents for the students who are frequently absent, in addition to some other changes. The changes are an effort to meet the state-defined criteria so that we don’t have to absorb an ongoing state aid ‘penalty’ ($150,000 for 2013/14) for our attendance being below the newly defined threshold. The changes that have been implemented have been partially successful.
We need your assistance over the next six weeks to help us achieve the goal of 96% student attendance rate. As many of you know, we’ve just completed one of the more difficult budgets in the recent history. This year’s attendance rate will impact future state aid, so anything we can do now to achieve the 96% goal will have a positive impact on the overall budget for the subsequent school year. At this time of year, we typically experience a nominal increase in the frequency of absences. There are several reasons why absences increase at this point in the year, but regardless of reason, we ask for your assistance as we attempt to minimize this arbitrary, state-imposed penalty.
Thank you for your anticipated attention to this issue as we move into the final six weeks of school for 2013-2014.
John Horchak III, Superintendent