For Immediate Release                                                                                             
Contact: Khotan Shahbazi-Harmon,
Director of Communications, E3 Alliance
Tel: 512.223.7244,
Contact: Barbara Johnson
Executive Director, AARO
Tel: 512-477-4000

 Student Absences in Central Texas Declined in 2012 & 2013

Region saves $12 million dollars due to drop

Austin, TX – October 30, 2013  Thanks to the broad and deep community effort in Central Texas, the alarming rate of student absenteeism declined in 2011-2013, despite continuing student enrollment growth, after reaching an all-time high in 2010.

The change became noticeable in 2011, after district attendance efforts had started, and area superintendents called for a region-wide attendance campaign.  The campaign, Missing School Matters , is facilitated by E3 Alliance, and calls for a broad and deep community initiative.   The campaign uses objective data to identify strategies to improve student attendance.  At the same time businesses are supporting their school districts by promoting the importance of school attendance among their employees and in the larger community.

Suzanna Caballero, President/CEO of Texas Certified Development Corporation and chair of Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) leadership team overseeing the Missing School Matters campaign has high praise for the initiative: “The business leadership in Central Texas is impressed by the impact that Missing School Matters  is having in our communities and schools.  Here is something that works, and E3 has the data to prove it!”

The student population in Central Texas has been consistently one of the fastest growing in the country.  Usually when student population grows, absenteeism keeps pace with the rate of student growth — more students normally lead to an increase in the total number of school days missed.  However, what makes 2011 stand out is that it was the first year the total number of days students were absent actually dropped, while student enrollment across the region continued to increase.  From 2011 to 2012, it is estimated that this drop in absences increased state revenue to schools in our region by 7.5 M.  From 2012 to 2013, absences increased slightly, but not as much as enrollment growth would have predicted.  The overall increased revenue for schools in our region since the Missing School Matters campaign started is estimated at over $12M!

Graphic can be accessed here:  Student Absences In Central Texas Graphics
How fast is the enrollment growing in Central Texas?

  • Student enrollment has increased in Central Texas by 39% in the last 10 years
  • The enrollment growth rate in Central Texas is twice the state average
  • The enrollment growth rate in the Texas student population is among the fastest in the U.S.

What have been the changes in attendance in Central Texas?

  • Student enrollment and overall absences both increased markedly over the last decade
  • However, student absences dropped from a high average of 8 days per student in 2010 to an average of 7.1 in 2013
  • Because school revenue is based on student daily attendance, each day a student is absent costs a school about $38. This adds up quickly – Central Texas schools lost $91M in 2010 due to student absences.

What have been some of the most surprising findings?

  • Given the relative economic prosperity in Central Texas, it is surprising that Central Texas students have more absences than the state average at every grade.
  • This difference is especially noticeable in low income students: Central Texas low-income high school students are on average absent 20% more often than their low-income peers across the State.

What can our community do about student absenteeism?

  • Because many parents and families do not understand the “rules to follow” to help improve attendance, the Missing School Matters campaign created this simple Parent Guide.  Missing School Matters: Parent’s Guide

About AARO
Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) is known as a non-partisan thought leader for Central Texas with 100 members drawn from the highest levels of business, community, and civic leadership in Caldwell, Bastrop, Hays, Travis, Williamson, and Burnet counties. Our regional leaders work together to seek out information and facts that will shape the destiny of the Central Texas region and use the insights gained to advance the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas.  Additional information about AARO can be found at

About E3 Alliance
Education Equals Economics (E3 Alliance), is a regional, data-driven, education collaborative based in Austin, Texas. We are leading the effort to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country to drive economic prosperity for Central Texas. We do this by using objective data and focused community collaboration to align our education systems so that all students can succeed. Together with the Central Texas community, we have created The Blueprint for Educational Change, our region’s strategic plan to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country.

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