ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Wednesday was student count day for schools across the state, but thousands of students in West Michigan had a snow day.
State funding for school districts is based on count day attendance, but districts that closed aren’t worried about closing.
Rockford Public School was among the districts that canceled classes Wednesday. Dr. Mike Shibler, superintendent of the district, said he’s not sweating it.
“The state will allow the following day that you’re in session to be the student count day,” he explained to 24 Hour News 8.
Shibler said that his district has had to close 14 times this school year. On the first week of school, dangerous heat forced a closure.
“People make a big deal out of these count days in October and in February, but really we have that flexibility,” he said.
The snow didn’t shut down Grand Rapids Public Schools Wednesday.
“We are optimistic about our numbers,” GRPS spokesman John Helmholdt said.
Even if parents kept their kids home, there’s still time for them to be counted. Students with excused absences on count day have 30 days to show up to school for the final tally. Unexcused absences have 10 days.
The district can still include those students in their count day total, which is key because the numbers are used for the state’s school funding formula. School officials say the count day numbers from October make up 90 percent of that formula and the February numbers make up the other 10 percent.
“Let’s get our kids back in school,” Helmholdt said. “Let’s do it because that’s the right thing for the for the child’s education … for GRPS, it’s also right to ensure we have the adequate funding and resources to support all of our schools and all of our classrooms.”
“I’m a strong believer we need to have time on task,” Shibler told 24 Hour News 8. “We need to have students in the classroom and they need to have the opportunity to be with teachers for teachers and learning and that is our priority.”
As it stands now, Rockford Public Schools students will be in class at least until the week of June 14.