ACL Effects On Attendance

An dramatization of the effects ACL has on attendance

An dramatization of the effects ACL has on attendance

Max Bowman, Writer

Austin City Limits is one of the the most significant events in Austin. Weeks before

the festival people clamour to get tickets and you hear “ACL” constantly murmured throughout the halls. Everyone’s excited – even the teachers. Then Friday rolls around. The hallways are lacking in students and there is a suspicious amount of substitutes. This is the result of when school continues as normal at the same time as one of the city’s greatest festivals.

No one wants to fall behind in school, but no one wants to miss ACL either. Austin is the live music capital of the world and its roots still show strongly today. This is where big bands go to perform for thousands and small bands perform for hundreds. To miss ACL is to miss a big part of Austin’s culture, something no student wants to miss out on so they end up skipping school. One absence costs Vandegrift $42. Last year the first Friday of ACL had 221 students absences costing the school $9,828 in just one day. A heavy dent in school funds that could have been used in curriculum, technology, sports or fine art funding. That’s not even counting the number of teachers that were absent, forcing the school to pay for substitutes.

The thing is this an avoidable situation. Simply have no school during ACL Fridays. There is no school on major holidays and for Austin this is just as significant of an event, if not more so. This is the type of festival that people will save up all year for. Yet for some reason, local school districts would rather lose thousands of dollars instead of just not having school those two Fridays. One valid complaint is that we would have to add an extra two days at the end of the calendar, a solution to that would be too just use some teacher work days on that date instead of others. In fact, an even more reasonable compromise is to switch it to a half day since the festival doesn’t even start until 11 a.m. giving students no real reason to skip school.

An important part of Austin culture, no one should be forced to miss even a minute of ACL.  It’s a great experience for young and old and some students and in the cases of students skipping, they fall behind in their studies and cost the school money. All that needs to happen to fix this problem is to make ACL Fridays half-days during this event letting students not miss school while not missing out on ACL. When planning next years calendar, school administrators should keep in mind high risk attendance dates such as this.