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Think You Know How ADM is Calculated in North Carolina?

charter school finance Jul 25, 2017

If you operate a charter school in North Carolina, it is imperative to dedicate extra time and resources to counting students and ensuring accurate attendance records during the first twenty days of the school year. After all, the majority of your funding for the entire school year is based on your 20-day Average Daily Membership (ADM). Are you sure that you know how to calculate your ADM?  This guide will help clarify the definition of ADM and help you make sure your counting, counts.

 The uncertainty in calculating ADM surrounds student absences. In the clearest of terms, ABSENCES HAVE NO IMPACT ON ADM after a student has attended their first day of the school year.  A student’s ADM count starts on the first day of the school year that the student physically attends school. Their count continues, regardless of brief absences, and only stops if they enroll at another school, or if they are absent for 10 consecutive days. 

In order to illustrate this, see the mock attendance record below. Attendance is marked for each student during the first 20 days of school, with “P” for present, or a blank for absent. It is my hope that each individual student case is represented by someone in this exercise, and can help you accurately calculate your 20-day ADM no matter how your student enrolls, un-enrolls, or is absent during this vital period.

Read here how to calculate each student:

Student A

This student was present every day. They count as 20 days in membership for your ADM.

Student B

This student's first day in attendance was the third day of school, therefore they count at 18 of 20 days of membership.

Student C

This student started on the first day and was absent two days, their membership regardless of absences, is a full 20 days.

Student D

Started on the fifth day and was absent a couple of days, so regardless of their absences their membership counts as 16 of 20 days.

Student E

Similar to D, they started on the 11th day and had an absence so they count at 10 days

Student F

The student started on day one and had a lot of absences. They are still counted as 20 days toward ADM.

Student G

Combined with Student H, this represents a student enrolling, leaving the school then being replaced on the 6th day. Student G counts for 5 days.

Student H

Student H counts for the other 15 days. Together they would fill one seat for a whole 20 days.

Student I

This student was present starting at day one and went on family vacation day 17. Off of this record, she came back on day 21, so her membership counts as full 20 days. If they were to have withdrawn at that point, they would have only counted as 16 days.

Student J

Just for fun, this student was absent every other day. This student still counts as a full 20 days membership.

The calculation for finding the 20-day Average Daily Membership for this school would be to take the total number of membership days (found in the bottom right corner) and divide by 20. So,  164 / 20 = 8.2 

Per statute, you round this number to the nearest whole number, so it would be exactly 8. This school would be funded by the state for 8 times the state allotment amount for the county where their students reside.

Many schools highly emphasize attendance during these first 20 days of school that count toward the 20-day ADM count, but in reality, it is attendance on the first day of school that has the greatest impact on this funding system. A close second would be the importance of quickly filling in the seat of any students that do not show up or unenroll within the first twenty days.

Need more help? Download this one page cheat sheet from our friend and partners at Acadia North Star (charter school finance and student services). 

I hope this helps you be confident that you have predicted your 20-day ADM correctly and have maximized your count. If you have a special case that is not comparable to the 10 students above, let me know, and we will try to figure it out together.

Written by Geoff Gorski, Consultant at Leaders Building Leaders. 

If you are thinking through new ideas, or seeking to improve your self, your team or school, please open to the consideration of a complimentary one hour session with one of our charter school experts. With over a decade of high quality charter school research I guarantee we will add incredible value and strategy to your ideas. Email me [email protected] to set up a session. 


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