GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Wednesday, Oct. 6 is Count Day, when all public schools in Michigan count how many students show up and get funding for each one from the state.
Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Leadriane Roby says while she encourages students to show up to school every day, Count Day is extra important. For each student who does show up to school, the district receives $8,700.
This money is used for programming, curriculum, teaching, supplies and other things the district needs to help students succeed.
Roby says she wants this day to set the standard for the rest of the school year.
“It’s one day of course, but every day is important for students to be in attendance for school because it has impact on how they understand and they’re engaging in the curriculum,” said Roby. “Come to school every day. School is important. We have worked very hard to have our young people in school and we want them here. We want them to have the best school year possible.”
At the end of Count Day, she said GRPS is close to meeting its projection for students.
“Our 2021-22 projection is 14,184. We are within 1% of meeting our projection for students. Student numbers have increased each week since the beginning of school, and we are confident that we will meet our full projection once the final numbers are tabulated,” she said in a statement.
Some districts in the area are reporting an uptick in students. Rockford Public Schools says so far, they’re counting 51 additional students.
“It means everything when it comes to funding,” said Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Mike Shibler. “The funding pays for everything from day-to-day operations, salaries and compensation, supplies and co-curriculars, everything.”
Kenowa Hills Public Schools said about 95% of their students were accounted for Wednesday. They say they are also seeing an uptick in the number of students.
“Count Day this year is no different than any other Count Day for us of course. An important day but just like any other day for our students,” said Kenowa Hills Public Schools Superintendent Gerald Hopkins. “A lot of unknowns going into last year and this year, of course, so we had to make some assumptions but it looks as though our numbers will be quite good.”
This Count Day marks the second during the pandemic. Districts say while COVID-19 cases and quarantines are causing students to miss days in school, it shouldn’t impact the count. They say if children have an excused absence, districts will have up to 30 days to count them. If students have an unexcused absence, districts will have 10 days to count them.
“We’re going to make sure that we count those students because we will be educating those students throughout the school year and we’ve already hired our staff based upon what we anticipated for our student count,” said Shibler.
Districts say the fall Count Day accounts for 90% of their funding. There will be another Count Day this coming spring. That will account for 10% of school’s funding.