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A reminder to families - student attendance on Wednesday, Feb. 9 is crucial for school funding

Posted at 6:22 AM, Feb 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 07:16:43-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Student attendance at school is always important, but Count Days carry more weight than most for Michigan Schools.

Michigan schools will participate in Count Day on Wednesday, Feb. 9 in hopes of earning the maximum funding for the schools.

Count Day takes place twice a year for Michigan schools, once in the fall and once in the winter.

The winter count accounts for 10 percent of the school's funding and the fall count accounts for 90 percent.

That money directly impacts the students, teachers, programs, resources, and the overall school budget. 

Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) says they experienced the single largest enrollment decline as a result of covid when they were 100% virtual - losing more than 850 students.  

However, current enrollment at GRPS came in over the school's budgeted projections by more than 230 students, which is why they're hopeful for a successful count day.

"This is really an opportunity if we can get the best count, and really solidify those numbers," said John Helmholdt, GRPS communications."That is going to help with our overall financial picture, which allows us to invest in our talent - that is a top priority for us right now. There is a teacher talent crisis and educational support talent crisis."

Michigan's multi-billion-dollar surplus in the state school aid fund gives schools an opportunity to really invest in their community.

"We need to invest more, we need to have a comprehensive statewide plan and strategy for how we are going to address this talent crisis," said John Helmholdt, GRPS communications. "Michigan ranks dead last in the percentage of students enrolling in colleges of education and completing colleges of education. We've had a 71 percent decline since 2006. So, this is this crisis has been upon us and but it really was the global pandemic that just absolutely exacerbated the situation."

A successful county for GRPS means each student could receive $8,700.

Michigan school officials encourage all students to attend class but, if a child is sick on Feb. 9 they should call it in as an excused absence.