Senior Ditch Day Endangers Funding

Eric Weston, Staff Writer

Senior Ditch Day has become ubiquitous as a holiday of sorts for seniors to celebrate the end of the school year. Superficially, it appears harmless. School is effectively over for most seniors by the end of May and spending a day at the beach with one’s friends is a fun way to get out of seven more hours spent in a chair.

However, there are real consequences for ditching that many seniors should consider when deciding to skip school.

Every public school in America relies on state funding to employ their teachers, pay for supplies, and keep the lights on. In California, state funding for public schools is directly tied to attendance. If a student cuts class, the school loses money. That decision affects every other student in the school. So, if every student in the senior class cuts class – the school understandably loses quite a bit of money, and the impact is felt across all grades and throughout the entire district.

A quick Google search for “ditch day cost” yields numerous results that detail this very occurrence at various California high schools. According to The Beckman Chronicle, one Senior Ditch Day in which 60% of seniors cut class cost the local school district $13,000. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the San Dieguito High School Academy’s ditch day cost the school $7,000.

At first I thought, as many seniors do, that only unexcused absences result in a loss of state funding. I was surprised to discover this is not the case. Even excused absences because of illness or a death in the family result in a loss of funding. So seniors cannot avoid this problem by simply having their parents cover for them. This leaves seniors with a stark choice between having a fun day at the beach or supporting the school.

Many students are furious to learn that their teachers assign in-class assignments on Ditch Day that cannot be made-up; but how can someone blame a teacher for wanting to protect their own job? Seniors should realize that their actions have consequences. So either donate a sum of money to the school if you decide to skip, or go to the beach on Saturday afternoon instead.