Covid-19 has made this past year incredibly difficult. Everything we do, whether it’s as simple as going to the store or as complex as educating the parish, has become more challenging. It is because of this fact that I am reaching out to you all now.
Close to 50% of our funding comes to us in the form of MFP dollars, these funds are generated by our student count. At two points in the year we count our students, October 1st and February 1st. These counts go up and down from year to year but for the most part, they are predictable. This year across the state and across the nation student counts are down. This is true for Natchitoches as well. The obvious culprit is COVID-19.
From conversations with teachers, community members, and other districts we have discerned that some families are under the mistaken impression that students can forgo this year completely without any consequences. These families mistakenly believe that their students can miss the entirety of this school year and continue to progress academically.
Let me say plainly, this is not true. If a student misses this year they will be retained in their last grade level. Furthermore, we are compelled to refer the names of those students and parents who have not reported to a school (either virtually or face-face), to FINS and the courts.
It is our desire that neither of these two things occur. We want students to progress academically and referring a family to FINS is a last resort. But ultimately, if a family chooses to not send their child to school we have no choice.
If you know of someone who is not sending their child to school, please share this information with them so that their child can be successful. If you have not yet sent your child to school please contact the school board or your child’s school for enrollment information prior to February 1st.
Dr. Grant Eloi