Too many students missed too much school during the 2010-11 academic year, and the lost well over $2 million as a result, says district Supt. William Huyett.
He hopes to improve on that record this year.
Huyett talked about attendance in his "welcome back to school" letter to parents, students and the community, released on the Tuesday.
The district-wide average attendance for last school year was 93 percent, equal to every BUSD student missing 12 out of the 180 school days, Huyett said.
Because state funding of local school districts is based largely on average daily attendance, student absences have a direct impact on BUSD's revenue.
"As a result of student absences in 2010-11, the Berkeley Unified School District lost well over $2,000,000 in unearned revenue," Huyett said in his letter.
"Our goal is to increase average attendance to 96 percent this year. We cannot do this alone and I appreciate your support in helping us to reach this goal."
Huyett also said the district is working to improve its responsiveness to parents, families and staff. To that end, several initiatives are under way, "including developing standards for responding to parent concerns, formal complaints, and using technology to provide quick access to information," he said.
He cited steady improvement in student performances in grades K-8, achieved "by supporting highly skilled teachers, while enriching our schools with libraries, music, and the arts." Meanwhile, the district's high schools "are in the process of improving standards based curriculum, instruction and assessment practices" through the WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation self-study, he said.
"We have many new initiatives to improve our program and continue to close the achievement gaps between ethnic groups of students," he said.