February 2, 2011 - Aim Truancy Solutions exhibited at the 2011 Texas Association of School Administrator’s (TASA) conference in Austin this week, and caught the eye of school districts looking for ways to close their budget gap. Attendance revenue makes up a significant part of school funding, and Aim’s monitoring and mentoring program has been shown to increase that revenue above and beyond its cost to the districts.
KXAN Austin News featured Aim Truancy Solutions in a report detailing how important attendance is to districts. Full text available below.
AUSTIN (KXAN) – One of the largest school districts in Texas, Northside Independent School District , is using GPS technology to keep up with kids who have a history of playing hooky.
“We’ve gotten amazing results,” said Brian Woods, NISD’s deputy superintendent of administration.
A year and a half ago the San Antonio district teamed up with AIM Truancy Solutions, a Dallas-based company that runs the program. They identify middle school and high school students who have racked up between 20 to 25 absences. Each student gets a hand-held GPS device about the size of a cell phone and uses it to check in and communicate with mentors. Woods said they have seen individual student attendance rates jump between 10- to 15 percent over a six-week period.
Right now, around 250 kids in three San Antonio district currently carry one. Tuesday, the company was in Austin for a school administrators conference and caught the attention of districts looking for ways to close their budget gaps.
“All superintendents, all administrators understand that it starts with attendance,” said Travis Knox, president of AIM Truancy Solutions. “Attendance is a good way to help bring in some of that additional revenue.”
Districts lose $45 a day for every student who is absent. The Pflugerville Independent School District launched an attendance campaign last fall to stress the financial and educational importance of being in school, and it has paid off. They’ve seen a 1 percent increase in attendance district wide which will bring in $1.2 million more.
Attendance in the Austin Independent School District was up 2 percent last semester compared to the same time last school year, which means the district will receive an extra $11.2 million.
“It’s just that simple,” said Holly Subervi, public relations coordinator with Austin ISD. “If everybody got their kids to school it could make a huge impact on our budget.”
They credit the increase to an attendance campaign launched this school year called “Everyday Counts.” Anyone can track daily attendance rates school by school by viewing the Attend-o-Meter on the district’s website. The extra effort toward encouraging kids to be at school is not just about the money.
“Really, it’s the key to a child graduating and being able to succeed in AISD or any other district,” said Subervi.