By Valerie Reddell
Weather events and an aggressive form of the flu have sent attendance rates at Woodville ISD below the 95 percent benchmark set by the Texas Education Agency, according to Woodville ISD Superintendent Glenn Conner.
"Attendance is as low as it's ever been," Conner said. "Between the flu and a stomach bug, it's been abysmal."
While campus facilities were empty during Christmas, Conner said contractors visited the campus and sanitized the building. Another treatment will be done around the winter break to help avoid further outbreaks of the flu and a stomach bug.
WISD's winter break is scheduled for Feb. 19 to 23.
The enrollment dropped by a few students from the prior six weeks, Conner told board members.
"We generally lose some in December and January and then (enrollment) comes back up," Conner added.
Overall, district attendance dropped below 95 percent, even though two campuses remained above the 95 percent mark.
Woodville's youngest students seem to be the hardest it by the highly contagious illnesses.
The elementary campus averaged 93.3 percent during the third six week, after beginning the year at 96.87 percent. At the intermediate level, 94.65 percent made it to class while 95.66 of the middle school answered roll call. Woodville High School had 95.56 attend.
Overall the district's average daily attendance was 94.94 for its student population of 1,324.
Trustees asked about the financial impact of the increased absences. Assistant Superintendent Cody Jarrot explained that the district receives $120,000 for each percentage point.
Trustee Richard Shaw Jr. asked whether TEA would take into consideration the impact this year's flu epidemic has been much more serious, but Trey Allison answered, "They don't care. They just don't give you any money."
Day Care Bus Route
Trustees also approved a measure last week that would add an afternoon-only bus route that would deliver an estimated 40 students to child care providers in Woodville.
"It would be a short route, but full," Conner said.
The provision was passed by the legislature three sessions ago, and local day care operators have asked the board to provide the service, citing increasing enrollment.
The modified regulation gives public schools the discretion of allowing students to ride a bus to their grandparent's home or a babysitter.
"Before we couldn't deliver a child anywhere but to their parent's home — except on a limited basis when a parent sent a note," Conner said.