Flint, MI— Flint Community Schools is gearing up for Count Day, which will take place statewide on Wednesday, Oct. 7. The district has budgeted for 3,400 students, approximately 300 fewer than last year, which was 3,749.

 In Michigan, Count Day occurs in early October and again in January. Student attendance is important every day, but on Oct. 7 enrollment numbers will help determine how much state aid a district receives.

 FCS’ anticipated smaller headcount considers the effects of COVID-19 on student participation, Superintendent Anita Steward said.

 Daily attendance has averaged between 60%-69% since virtual classes started on Aug. 5. “If there’s not someone there who’s on top of our scholars [students] reminding them and monitoring them and making sure that they’re online, it is so easy for them to get distracted and do what it is that they want to do,” Steward said.

 Traditionally, Count Day attendance is taken in-person but because many districts have opted for virtual learning in lieu of COVID-19, students must be logged on and participating in their online classroom to be counted.

 “Attendance is tracked by our students being engaged online. When they show up on the camera for their class, their teacher can mark them present,” Steward said. Whether students need to have their cameras on is at the discretion of each teacher, she added.

 Middle schoolers and high schoolers must be present at all classes to be counted. “They can’t just go to their homeroom, or their first hour of the day, or that last class of the day—they need to attend every single class,” Steward said.

 Steward said Wellness Team members have been calling and emailing students who have not been in their online classrooms.

 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 affords FCS $8,000 to educate each student, Steward said.

 “This is how we pay for instructional materials, such as textbooks, furniture, your child’s desk. This is how we pay your child’s teacher’s salary…We need your child to be online, engaged and interacting with all of their classes on Wednesday, October 7,” she said to parents at a Count Day information session on Monday.

School officials are hoping all students participate in online classes so the district can secure proper funding for the 2020-2021 school year.

Steward and Assistant Superintendent Kevelin Jones will be “popping” in and out of classrooms on Wednesday to give away prizes, including a gaming headset.

 “It’s the icing on the cake,” Steward said, but would not reveal the brand or other details about the headset.

 For more information or questions about class schedules, contact Anita Steward at superintendent@flintschools.org, or call 810-760-1883.


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...