Pay to Stay? This South Bay School District Asks for $47 Every Time a Child Misses School.
It’s not a requirement; only a suggestion. But it’s one meant to hammer home the cost to school districts when parents decide to take their children out of the classroom.
“Manhattan Beach Unified School District, in Los Angeles’s tony South Bay, asks parents to make a $47 donation each time a student misses a day of school,” Forbes reports. The donation request is being included on student absence forms that must be filled out by parents when they plan to take their child out of school.
Manhattan Beach Unified has a pretty stellar student attendance record (98%), but Superintendent Mike Matthews says it still loses about $1 million in funding from the state each year due to student absences. In an affluent community like Manhattan Beach, many of these are voluntary absences caused by family vacations and the like.
Matthews told Forbes that schools are relatively laissez-faire about the donation requests. This year, only about 1% of absences have been offset by a donation. But the point seems to be about awareness more than anything else.
California is one of a small number of states that bases public education funding on daily student attendance. Absences cost school districts around the state millions of dollars each year.