Illness could cost schools and students

archive_import /

By CLAIRE ST. JOHN

Strep throat, stomach flu and fever are becoming both health and finance issues for area elementary schools.

Many school attendance clerks are reporting higher numbers of absences, but Jamestown and Sonora elementary schools in particular are suffering from empty seats.

On Tuesday, 128 of the 799 enrolled students were absent from Sonora Elementary School, a loss to the district of $3,200 because state income to the school is based on daily attendance. Yesterday, the absences again were high, and Superintendent Ken Harbord said he is braced for the illnesses to cost the school $10,000 by tomorrow.

"I can't believe how many kids we have out," said Cathy Owens, Sonora Elementary's attendance clerk. "They're just dropping like flies." Last year around this time, only about 50 students called in sick, she said.

At Jamestown Elementary, 49 of about 565 kids were out yesterday. That's a 33 percent increase from normal absence rates and cost the school $1,225.

Schools are funded by an average daily attendance formula that amounts to about $25 per elementary school student per day.

"We're not asking parents to send their sick kids, but it's another blow to local schools," said Harbord.

"We expect to absorb certain losses, but this just adds up really quickly." Harbord added that students should be returned to school as soon as they're well enough and no longer contagious.

Up until two years ago, schools could still receive ADA funding if absences were excused by parents. But the state eliminated that practice after raising ADA funding.

"A lot of parents write a note and think the school's OK financially, when in reality, it's not," Harbord said.

But according to Cheryl Postolu, Sonora Elementary's business manager, the funding can be recovered if absences become a bigger problem.

"If normal attendance figures drop by 10 percent, the school may obtain official documentation from the county health department that is used in a waiver process allowing the school to recoup the lost funds," Postolu said.

11705446
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Friday April 29, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Jamestown teen realizes queen dream

04/26/2016

Karissa Rogers, named 2016 Mother Lode Roundup Queen on Sunday, swept the ... more

New $65M courthouse to open by end of 2019

04/26/2016

State officials are working with architectural consultants on final designs for a ... more

Lake is full, marina is open

04/26/2016

The temperature was in the high 20s Tuesday morning when Jacob Hartley, ... more

Increased pulse flows for fish begin on Stanislaus River

04/26/2016

Agencies that control flows on the Stanislaus River below Tulloch and New ... more

McPherson sentenced to 36 years in prison

04/22/2016

A man was sentenced to 36 years in state prison for sexually ... more