Giants' celebration costly to PUSD
Parents asked to reimburse district for taking kids to parade
Celebrating the San Francisco Giants' victory in the World Series will cost the Pleasanton School District more than $13,000, unless parents come up with the cash to pay for the day they took their kids out of school.
More than 245 students took off on Oct. 31, the day the Giants' parade ran through the streets of San Francisco, according to Kevin Johnson, the district's senior director of student services.
"Our attendance rate as a district for this school year has been 97.87%. For that specific Wednesday we were at 95.08%," Johnson said.
He said the bulk of the absences were at Amador Valley and Foothill high schools.
"We actually had over 100 students absent beyond our normal attendance at each school," he said. "The middle schools' dips were much more slight. Each school had 15 plus beyond the normal, and the elementary schools were much more of a mix."
District policy has for some time been to ask for parents to pay if a child is absent for any reason. The district's website notes there is a cost for every absence, whether allowed -- such as illnesses or funerals -- or if a students misses school for other reasons.
"The expectation of the PUSD is that students attend school on every day of instruction with limited exceptions," the website says. "With every absence, students miss valuable instruction time. In addition, the PUSD loses $53.33 in revenue for each absence (even excused absences). For the past few years, we have attempted to educate parents about avoiding elective absences."
Those elective absences include extended weekends, family trips and medical appointments, and the district wants parents to pay the $53 for every day a child misses school.
Over the last three school years, the district received $9,400 in donations, said Luz Cazares, assistant superintendent of business services.
She said the district will not aggressively pursue parents to recoup money for the Giants parade absentees.
"We are not seeking donations from parents for that day specifically," Cazares said. "In the past the donation level for elected absences has been quite low."
Money notwithstanding, Johnson understands why so many kids might have taken the day off. It's not every year that a graduate of the district is a starting shortstop for the team that wins the World Series.
Brandon Crawford graduated Foothill High School in 2005 and is in his second year with the Giants. In addition, his mother Lynn Crawford is a fifth-grade teacher at Vintage Hills Elementary.