By Emily Hummel
With a overall trend of decreased enrollment in Michigan public schools, count dayconsidered one of the most critical days of the year by Michigan educators, has gone much better than in recent years in Mason, which has seen increased enrollment.
Count day is when students attending each school within a district are counted and the number is reported to the state. From these reports, the state determines how much money to give to each school district and can mean a difference of several thousand dollars.
On this day attendance in school is stressed to parents, and some schools even give incentives to their students to encourage maximum attendance. Mason schools inform parents and trust them to understand the importance of the day.
A difference of 100 kids attending could mean $700,000, each student being worth about $7,400, according to Bill DiSessa, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education. The money from the state goes to all functions of the schools, including, salaries, utilities, new sports uniforms, band instruments, and any other responsibilities of the school.
“It’s a very important number. It allows us to keep our doors open,” said Ron Drzewicki, superintendent of Mason Public Schools.
The Mason school system has more than 3,117 kids enrolled in classes according to a 2013-14 census of students, which means the district accrues more than $2.3 million in revenue from the state, 74 percent of the school district’s income.
The number of students enrolled in Mason schools is the largest number for the district since 2006 and the number has bounced back from a plunge during the 2010-11 school year, which saw a decrease of 178 students over six years and amounting to more than $1.3 million in losses for the schools.
Administrators like Drzewicki are counting on large returns from the state, this year to support the district’s budget.
— Emily Hummel