Berkeley Schools' Attendance Investment Pays Off

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, May 31, 2012

A year ago, Berkeley school Superintendent Bill Huyett, with the school board's blessing, took about $250,000 out of the district's bank account and placed a bet.

The money could have bought at least three teachers, but instead Huyett spent the money on an extra high school administrator and other support staff to focus entirely on student attendance.

In an era of budget cuts and belt tightening, it was a professional and political gamble to pull money out of classrooms to bolster efforts to get more students in those classrooms, Huyett said.

Nine months later, that investment has paid off fourfold, with the district reaping more than $1 million in state and other funding to pay for the 150 additional students on average who now show up for school each day.

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