By Shelby Stewart
Each year the second Wednesday of February is student Count Day statewide. The day is key since the count determines just how much funding a district is getting based on the number of students they have enrolled. In a “normal” school year, 90 percent of the October count is added to 10 percent of the previous year’s February count.
However, the pandemic has prompted a few significant changes. Now there’s a blend of 75 percent of last year’s count and 25 percent of this year’s. Some of reason for the change is also due to a mix of students now in person and virtual.
In the Brandon School District, the preliminary 2021 spring count numbers of 2,230 have increased over the fall count numbers of 2,209 students.
“Our 2020 spring count was 2,279,” said Dr. Karl Heidrich, interim superintendent Brandon School District. “We believe families are returning and choosing Brandon Schools. We will continue to offer enrollment opportunities both in-person and virtually into the next school year. We have a successful narrative for the Brandon School District and were able to manage in-person learning since the beginning of the school year. We have a high-quality school district and offer a robust virtual learning option at every level.”
The amount of state aid for this year is $8,111, for Brandon. For next year, it is possible they return to 90 percent of state aid for the fall count and 10 percent for the spring count.
“So with an increase in students this spring would have a positive impact on next year’s budget if the student trend continues into the fall and our enrollment flattens or we see less year over year declines in enrollment,” he said. “For this year’s budget, the increase in the count for this spring would have little or no financial impact on the district”
Enrollment the Goodrich School District also increased.
The preliminary Goodrich School District count is 1,972 students. The count for Fall 2020 was 1,916 for Goodrich and 2000 including the Shared Time Schools— Bethlehem Lutheran, Peace Lutheran, and Saginaw Valley Lutheran. School officials say those numbers will remain the same for February 2021.
The per public funding in Goodrich is $8,176.
“I believe that a significant reason we kept our student numbers up and even improved is the fact that we gave the opportunity for face to face learning from the beginning,” said Greg Main, Goodrich School board president. “The families of the district made it clear that they felt the best learning opportunity for their kids was face to face and the district listened while also offering options for virtual for those that requested.”
“In addition, the fact that Goodrich Schools have always been a great learning district, even prior to the COVID pandemic we are all dealing with now. The district has tremendous administrators throughout the district along with awesome teachers that care about the kids they teach. This along with the fact we have great families/kids in the district it is not surprising to me that our numbers have grown during these trying times. We are Goodrich.”