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Burnet CISD attendance rebounding; concerns about state funding remain

Burnet High School students of the month for September 2021

Burnet High School Principal Casey Burkhart (left) and math department chair Katie Hewitt (right) recognize students Hailey Baker and Mark Barnes as the campus' Students of the Month. Courtesy photo

After a rough start, Burnet Consolidated Independent School District officials are seeing a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases on campuses, but they are cautious about how the continuing pandemic will impact the budget due to the drop in the average daily attendance.

During the Board of Trustees meeting Monday, Sept. 20, administrators had good news for trustees regarding COVID-19 numbers. During the previous week, Sept. 12-18, the district recorded 45 positive cases, marking the third week in a row that positive cases had declined.

Quest High School student of the month September 2021
Quest High School Principal Dr. Doug Marvin (left) introduced student Heidi Luke, joined by her family, to the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees as that campus’ Student of the Month. Courtesy photo

Typically, daily attendance averages 95 percent. Currently, it’s hovering in the 80s, but reached 89 percent at the end of last week, Superintendent Keith McBurnett said in a meeting recap email to DailyTrib.com.

“This percentage is critical to the funding of the school district,” McBurnett said. “If the (average daily attendance) stayed the same as we experienced during the first four weeks of school, the district would realize a reduction in (state) revenue of $1,623,062 for the year.”

The increase in average daily attendance should help alleviate some of these worries, he said. Also, the Texas government could provide some relief from low average daily attendance since it is a statewide issue.

Burnet CISD flag presentation
Masonic Valley Lodge No. 175 members attended the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District meeting Monday, Sept. 20, where they presented each of the district’s principals with an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol and a Texas flag that few over the state Capitol. On hand for the presentation were Mason Jim Barho (left), Bertram Elementary School Principal Alicia Harris, Mason Bill Weaver, Burnet High School Principal Casey Burkhart, R.J. Richey Elementary School Principal Jessica McMullen, Mason Harold Dayton, Burnet Middle School Principal Jennifer Stewart, Mason Donald Fawcett, Shady Grove Elementary School Principal Abby O’Hair, Mason Frank Smith, and Quest High School Principal Dr. Doug Marvin. Courtesy photo

Along the pandemic front, BCISD provides rapid testing for its staff. In less than a month, the district has administered 104 rapid tests with 63 coming back negative. The testing allows “staff to either be confident to return to work or to recover from regular seasonal illness without a lengthy quarantine,” McBurnett said.

In a related agenda item, the board approved changes to the 2021-22 academic calendar to address recent campus and districtwide campus closures due to COVID cases. R.J. Richey Elementary School was closed Sept. 3, and all BCISD campuses were closed Sept. 7-8 because of the virus.

As a result, the district had to update its academic calendar to make up for the missed days. 

Under the changes, Sept. 27 and Oct. 11 will change from professional development days to class days. Dec. 16 will move from an early release day to a full school day.

daniel@thepicayune.com