Get Adobe Flash player

Detroit Schools Count 48,511 Students on Wednesday... Above Budget Projections

Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, October 5, 2017

Count Day for the Detroit Public Schools Community District provided some good news. But there's even better news.

The district, which has been shedding students for years, had 48,511 students show up for classes Wednesday, one of two important days of the year in which the enrollment helps determine how much state aid schools receive.

That's above the 48,309 the district needed to hit to meet its budget projections.

That projection took into account the return of a few thousand students from the dissolution of the Education Achievement Authority, which had operated as a state reform district in the city.

The even better news for the district? Over a five-day period - with Wednesday being the last day - 50,153 students have attended school at least one day.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti has in recent interviews been encouraged by the numbers. But he's said the district needs to see even bigger enrollment gains.

Michigan sets aside two count days during the calendar year. Wednesday's count will be combined with the count taken in February to determine state aid. But Wednesday's count is the key one, since 90% of the funding is based on the enrollment that day.

Students who weren't in class Wednesday can still be counted. But the state sets some restrictions. A student with an excused absence can be counted if that student attends school within 30 calendar days following count day, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

A student with an unexcused absence on Count Day can be counted if he or she attends within 10 school days. And a student who doesn't attend on Count Day because they have been suspended, must attend within 45 calendar days of Count Day to be counted.