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The Riverhawk Review

The Riverhawk Review

State of Idaho reinstates attendance-based funding for schools

State+of+Idaho+reinstates+attendance-based+funding+for+schools
Photo Source: Lindsay Gill

As of the 2023-2024 school year, Idaho has reverted to school funding based on the attendance of students. School funding is now based on average daily attendance (ADA).

The formula for determining a school’s ADA is complex. It includes combining the overall attendance of the district from day 1 through the first Friday in November and the best 28 weeks of attendance throughout the entire school year. The numbers from these two data points are used to calculate how much money is distributed to the district from the state. 

Attendance-based funding depends on the number of students physically attending school throughout the year. “If I attend 95% of the time instead of [100%], then I will only count as .95. If I attend 75% of the time, I count as .75” explained Dr. Brady Dickinson, Superintendent of the Twin Falls School District. 

During the pandemic, Idaho schools were placed under enrollment-based funding. Enrollment-based funding counted each student that was enrolled in school, putting schools at 100% attendance rates. 

Prior to the pandemic, attendance ran 94-95% for the Twin Falls School District. As of this year, attendance is between 92-93%. That 3% lost funds for about ten district staff members. 

“There are many reasons why we want students in school… I would love to see all students attend each day to keep our valued teachers.” Mr Scott Thompson, Interim Principal at CRHS explained, “If our attendance drops we will lose funding and we will not be able to re-hire all our staff. This possibly could increase class sizes.“

Schools were given funding called ESSR which stands for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund throughout the COVID pandemic. The 2023-2024 school year is the last year that ESSR funding will be available.

Funding received from attendance-based funding affects teachers’ jobs within the district. “This year…we reduced down ten teaching positions. [TFSD] should have reduced 30. So the ESSR funds are really paying for the other 20 [staff members],” Dr. Dickinson explained. 

“If the student wasn’t occupying a desk in a classroom they were not included in the overall funding formula,” Mr. Mike Keckler, the Communication and Legislative Affairs Officer for Idaho State Board of Education, stated, “…and looking at that, there was some consideration about trying to move to enrollment-based funding on a permanent basis, but there just is not support for that at this point in the legislator, so now we’ve moved back to attendance-based funding.”

Now that Idaho schools have reinstated attendance-based funding, students being in a desk learning will help improve the funding provided by local and state governments. 

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About the Contributor
Lindsay Gill
Lindsay Gill, Staff Reporter
I am a staff reporter for our paper, the Riverhawk Review. I am in my senior year of high school. I have been working on the newspaper since 2022. This year, my goal for the newspaper is to inform people of Twin Falls and our school about all that is happening. I am very excited to be a part of a fantastic team here and be a part of informing the school and community. A bit of me, my spirit animal is King Julian from Madagascar. I am currently in HOSA alongside the newspaper. I am really excited to see what this year brings!

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    Leslie SackmasterMar 19, 2024 at 11:48 am

    Amazing job Lindsay. I am so proud of you!

    Reply