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New School Attendance Policy for Mississippi Students

Knox Graham

JACKSON, Miss.–A bill signed into law last week will now level the school attendance playing field for all in the state of Mississippi.

All public schools will now have a standard definition of what being present or absent is considered for a school day.

“The entire MAEP funding formula is based off [attendance] which is $1.9 billion,” said Mississippi State Auditor Stacy Pickering.

The Mississippi Adequate Education Program will now use the benchmark in which 63% of the school day a student must be at school to be counted present.

Pickering said currently it is impossible to perform a true audit because some schools only require a student to sign-in each morning while others have much higher standards of attendance.

“As the auditor, I could not validate that number,” he said.

Pickering noted this will bring much more accountability into the schools moving forward.

According to audits in the state, only eight high schools that were looked at required students to be there over 50% of the school day in order to be counted into the system and only 17 out of 47 school districts could account for all enrolled students.

This signed bill goes into law on July 1.


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