An increase in homeschooling could lead to a decrease in funding for Jackson County schools

Jackson County

MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — The Jackson County School District could miss out on $1.8 million in state funding as result of an increase in students enrolled in home school.

In February 2020, 288 Jackson County students were home schooled. As of Thursday, that number is 585.

Jackson County Superintendent, Steve Benton, said for each student not attending brick-and-mortar school this Fall, the district will lose $8,050 in state funding. That’s a total of $1.8 million.

Benton said he believe the pandemic is what caused the increase in home schooling.

“See, 1.8 million would fund 30 teachers,” Benton said. “You and the COVID is getting better, our numbers are getting real low again and the teachers are being vaccinated and so I just feel like come August, that we, I’m hoping that they will come back to the brick and mortar.”

School districts haven’t lost any money yet, because the state has held them harmless. But that will change come October.

“The state has been very good to us on the funding so far but you know with the all 18 and up able to be vaccinated, I feel like the state is going to drop the harmless cause,” Benton said.

Student Services Director, Ronald Mitchell, has been contacting families who’ve chosen home school during the pandemic.

“I am hearing that a lot of the parents are going to return their students to brick and mortar which is a great thing,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell believes the district is well prepared to provide students the tools to be successful in their lives.

“Home school is not easy,” Mitchell said. “It takes a lot of commitment. But we have some great teachers to provide those services. Being in brick-and-mortar is probably the safest place that they can be and I think parents are understanding and realizing that, that is where their children need to be.”

Officials say they have until October to get more of those kids re-enrolled back into brick and mortar before losing out on $1.8 million.

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