Flint, MI— October 7th was Count Day for Michigan schools, a day when student enrollment influences how much state aid a district receives. Flint Schools officials reported a preliminary count of 3,207 students, approximately 200 fewer than the 3,400 they initially budgeted. 

The numbers still need to be certified by the state, so the final count may increase or decrease within the next 10 days, Superintendent Anita Steward said. 

“We were pleased to connect and engage with scholars across the district to reinforce the importance of being in school every day to ensure success, and we believe the turnout was strong as a result of our efforts to engage,” Steward said. 

Early last week, Flint Schools urged students to get online. Traditionally, student attendance is taken in person, but because the district has opted for virtual instruction due to the pandemic, students were marked present when teachers could see them on camera. 

Steward and Assistant Superintendent Kevelin Jones gave away prizes to students who were in class, including a pair of RIG gaming headphones courtesy of Nacon Gaming. 

Daily attendance has averaged between 60%-69% since virtual classes started on Aug. 5 and total student headcount is down considerably since spring when approximately 3,749 attended Flint Schools. 

Steward said this is largely because of the pandemic which has caused undue hardship for Flint families.

However, due to a series of bills passed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in August, last year’s total count will play a bigger role in determining how much funding FCS receives. The bills aim to address the challenges of educating students during a pandemic.

The new legislation altered the way Count Day totals are applied in the funding formula. Prior to COVID-19, school funding was based on 90/10 weighted formula: 90% weighted for fall attendance and 10% weighted for the prior spring. Now the blend is 75% weighted for last year’s count and 25% weighted for attendance on Oct. 7.

The state gives Flint Schools $8,000 to educate each child, Steward said. 

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...