Students exempt from finals have to check in at school

The Victoria Mall was busier than usual with youngsters before 5 p.m., Friday; considering it was a school day.

Students who were exempt from finals at Victoria West and East high schools were able have a free day with one catch - they had to sign in first.

The Texas Education Agency determines state funding based on daily absences, said Diane Boyett, spokesperson for the Victoria Independent School District.

Also, being absent from the days of finals could spell danger for a student, who could lose credits, she said.,

"On these final days of school, we lose attendance on those days, and that does translate to state funding," Boyett said.

Marissa Rivas, a parent of two sons at Victoria East, still feels the drive to school is inefficient.

"It's a waste of gas and time," she said as her older son, Dillon DelaGarza, carried a Dillard's and American Eagle bag.

Dillon, an 11th-grader, was not exempt, but her brother in ninth grade was exempt.

To be exempt, students need to have no more than three absences and higher than an 85 average in each course, Dillon said.

Dillon had the grades, but too many absences, he said.

Those who were exempt did not have to leave campus, Boyett said.

The libraries at both high schools were open for studying and reading, and movies were being shown in the auditoriums.

This helps for those students who ride the bus to school but are still exempt from finals.

Shoron Pruitt, a ninth-grader at West, was also exempt from his finals, but didn't find signing in a problem.

Several of his other friends from East also understood the policy.

"It's mostly to make sure you aren't absent," Shoron said. "If not, it could count against your exemption."

VISD hopes to seek a state waiver next year so that students won't have to sign in, Boyett said.