ACL Fest lowers school attendance - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

ACL Fest lowers school attendance

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The start of the ACL Festival means "skip day" for some area students, but AISD isn't letting anybody off the hook.

It's that time of year when Stephen F. Austin High School turns into the School of Rock.

"I just came from a portable and you can hear it perfectly from inside the portable," said student Jaclyn Remsing.

"It's pretty cool," said student Blair Hadley.

With the ACL Festival in their backyard it's understandably hard for students to make it through the school day. That is, if they even make it to school.

"Every year I see kids missing," said Remsing.

According to AISD attendance data from the three previous years of ACL, the attendance rate is typically one percent lower the Friday of ACL when compared to the Friday before. With an average daily attendance of 79,000, that's a difference of 790 students.

Teens at Austin High got a "talking to" on the morning announcements.

"They kind of warned students not to go, like it's important to stay," said Remsing.

Across town, at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, staff sent a letter home to parents. It states that missing class for ACL "will not be considered an excused absence." It adds that "AISD policy does not allow students with unexcused absences to make up the work missed."

We spoke with a dad who just so happened to be checking his daughter out early to head to the festival. We're not showing his identity so that she doesn't get in trouble.

"They're gonna have fun. They're gonna have a blast," he said.

He says one day's not so bad.

"I think they can handle one day and they can make up work for a couple periods of classes," he said.

According to Susan Dawson, Executive Director of the E3 Alliance, schools do suffer. Each absence costs schools an average of $38 in state funding.

"That adds up really quickly. The average high school in our region loses $20,000 a week," Dawson said.

That equals $91 million a year. Dawson says that's a lot of teachers.

"Austin is the music capital of the world. We all love to enjoy music I hope all of our children and families get to do enjoy music at school and otherwise, but enjoy it after school is out on Friday," said Dawson.

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