SOUTH BEND — The new school year doesn't start for a couple more weeks, but the summer is more important than ever in the era of school choice, as officials work to keep pupils from moving to other districts.
Many schools face an annual challenge of students who suddenly leave the school system for a variety of reasons, and it's no different for some local districts.
It's a concern for officials because frequent moves can hurt a student's academic performance, and a loss of students also has a financial impact on school systems, which get money from the state based largely on enrollment numbers.
"It does affect funding because, essentially, each student is worth $6,500, but our greater concern is for the student," said School City of Mishawaka Superintendent Dean Speicher. "We don't want there to be a loss of learning."
School systems take varying approaches to the annual loss of students.
In Indianapolis, the KIPP network of charter schools is aggressive, assigning each teacher a list of 20 students to personally call over the summer, according to the education news website Chalkbeat Indiana.
Officials with several local school systems said they do not have quotas for student outreach over the summer, but they use a variety of tactics to stay in touch with families and make sure students are ready to come back in the fall.
For South Bend schools, staying in touch with students starts with the district's summer school and summer camp offerings, said Sue Coney, a spokeswoman for the South Bend Community School Corp.