Schools pay close attention to attendance on Student Count Day - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Schools pay close attention to attendance on Student Count Day

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(02/12/14) - Across Mid-Michigan, schools paid extra attention to attendance for the year's second Count Day.

The number of students that showed up Wednesday will have a big impact for the district's budgets.

Wednesday's Student Count Day was very important for every school district - but its impact could be felt the most at those that are struggling with finances and low attendance. The student count will determine how much aid districts get from the state.

ABC12 has been keeping you informed with the number of districts in our viewing area, such as Flint and Saginaw, that are facing major deficits. They're hoping to get some relief.

Westwood Heights School superintendent, Salli Stevens, says Student Count Day is especially important for her district as well. They just came out of a $154,000 budget deficit this year.

Although they're doing much better now, that doesn't mean that they're not looking at other ways to address their budget. The district had raffles on Wednesday to make sure that kids showed up for class.

They receive more than $7,000 per student, per year.

Stevens says the Academy West Alternative High School has helped improve the student count numbers. This is the first year it's been a part of the district.

"Our student count rose substantially with that. It's been very successful with us so far and that's really going to help us build that fund equity piece so that we cannot put ourselves in deficit situations again," she said.

"We're very encouraged by the number of students we're seeing now, normally our second count would be a little lower than our first count, but we're seeing very strong retention of our students this year," said Academy West principal Peter Tal.

The student count number for Wednesday was1,325. Compared to October, that's up by about 12 students.

"We were surprised at the number that showed up," Tal said.

Tal says he believes some of the extra programs offered at his school are helping to increase the student population.

"We have been making announcements and encouraging them that this is an important day for all of us. For the teachers the staff, the school building in terms of us buying new technology in the coming years and also to add programs. We have a lot of extracurricular programs like basketball, robotics," he said.

School districts like Carmon-Ainsworth had fewer students than they did during the first Student Count Day in October.

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