LANSING - While Michigan schools want students in class everyday, there are two days where attendance equals a monetary value. Student count day, that is.
Student attendance is counted two days out of every school year where the school then receives a specific amount of money for each student who is in class. Schools in Meridian Township typically receive about $7,500 per student.
Feb. 8 count day accounts for 10 percent of the school years funding while the Oct. count day totals to be a 90 percent of funding. “I think there is conversation about changing that up a bit,” said Haslett High School’s Associate Principal, Diane Newman. “So, there is some talk about evening that out.”
While some schools go to lengths to entice students to show up for student count day, Haslett High School has no problem with regular attendance. “We have a great student body so we don’t really have to do any encouraging. Our attendance is fairly good everyday,” said Newman. “We do have to actually work with staff to encourage attendance taking so that it’s accurate for each student who is either absent or here.”
Counting attendance correctly is important when it comes to count day. Misrepresenting students, either in class or absent from class, means potentially losing money for the district.
“There is a gal in the main office who does attendance, then the administrative assistant comes in and when students come in late they track attendance, and then the administrative assistant down here does the final tally that is sent into the state,” said Newman. “So it’s really all hands on deck.”