The pandemic has forced changes to school count day in Michigan.
The state has come up with new formulas and how they divvy up the money during the coronavirus pandemic. Wednesday is arguably one of the more important days on the academic calendar because “Count Day” determines how much funding a district is getting based on the number of students they have.
State law requires two counts: One in October and one this month. Because of the pandemic, many school districts have students split up, some attending in person, some virtual, and some absent.
Normally, the math looks like this: 90% of the October count is added to 10% of the previous year’s February count. But the pandemic has forced changes. Now there’s a blend of 75% of last year’s count and 25% of this year’s.
The state says the new formula is to offset declining enrollment because of the pandemic.
“There’s only one of those quadrants that is going to encompass the count day where you have a pandemic and students are learning primarily at a distance,” said Kyle Guerrant, deputy superintendent, finance and operations at the Michigan Department of Eduction. “So that was again really the hope of going to that super blend was to limit the sudden reduction in funding for schools.
Take Novi Community School District, for instance. The Novi superintendent said they’ve lost about 50 students to private or online schools, which means losing about $442,000 in per-pupil funding.
The state has not said yet whether or not this new blend formula will stay past this pandemic, but a tip of the hat to the state to try to solve a problem before it comes to a head.
Losing 50 students, which is pretty normal, you lose $400,000, and the schools need every penny right now.
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