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Violent threat sends school attendance into freefall

District officials say decline will cost big bucks

Districts across San Antonio reported unusually low attendance rates Thursday after threats were made to several schools earlier in the week.

An anonymous threat of violence against an unspecified San Antonio elementary school caused a sharp decline in attendance in school districts across Bexar County Thursday.

"We usually have 95 percent, 96 percent attendance. Today we had 62.7 percent," said NEISD Communications Director Aubrey Chancellor.

The threat said mass violence would occur on April 24, but by the end of the school day nothing had happened.

Several district officials said the safety of students is paramount, and they understand why parents would keep children at home. But the sharp decline in attendance will have an immediate financial impact due to the state's funding system, which is based on daily attendance.

"This will cost NEISD approximately $300,000," Chancellor said.

Northside ISD's attendance rate was 57 percent, down from 95 percent the previous two days.

District officials estimate the drop will cost schools nearly $1.4 million in state funding.

SAISD had an attendance rate of 56.5 percent.

The money is used to pay school utility bills, bus fuel bills and teacher salaries.

Jerry DeLaCruz said the SAPD's assurance that the threat was a hoax was not a good enough reason to send his three kids to school.

"Right now (SAPD) has given no answer as to who it is and they've made no arrest," he said. "We don't know if it's someone internally within the (school) system. If it‘s somebody in the school then patrols outside the school really does not help at all."

Tammy Williams said the threat was too vague and sending her two kids to school taught them a lesson.

"We felt by sending them to school they were standing against fear. They were learning (the) lesson to not be afraid," she said. "We felt like keeping them home would only empower the (person) who made the threat, and we wanted to take a stand against them."

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