Michigan school districts want students to be in class tomorrow, October 5, for fall Count Day.
Some districts have launched campaigns to remind parents of the dates, and have offered incentives like free breakfast and gift card drawings for kids to come to school.
It matters, because 90% of state funding for schools is based on how many students are in class on fall Count Day.
The rest is determined by attendance on the second Count Day on February 8.
"Attendance at school every day is critical," said Alycia Meriweather, interim superintendent for the new Detroit Public Schools Community District, noting that research shows students are less likely to graduate when they miss even two days per month. But she said Count Day is especially important because state aid is tied to attendance on that day.
Meriweather said this is the first year in a long time that Detroit Public Schools will get its full per-student allocation without money going to pay for debt.
"For the past several years, we've taken $1,100 off the per pupil allocation to pay debt, and that will not be happening this year," said Meriweather.