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Local districts react to student count changes

Kyle Moroney • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:08 AM

“It’s going to have an impact on the Spring Lake schools budget this year,” SLPS Superintendent Dennis Furton said this morning. “Our fall enrollment is higher than our winter enrollment, so that 90 percent is going to be a great benefit for us to have.”

Grand Haven Area Public Schools officials said their district will likely not be vastly effected by upcoming changes associated with student counts.

“We’re going to have to look at the numbers to see if the change will impact us positively or negatively,” GHAPS Superintendent Keith Konarska said this morning. “The impact should remain neutral.”

Overall, Michigan’s public schools could receive $12.6 million less in school aid this year because of the change.

The change was prompted by research that showed the state was paying for students counted in the spring who were no longer there in the fall. Under the new formula, districts with declining enrollment stand to lose money, while those adding students each school year will get more funding.

Also this year, count day was moved from the fourth Wednesday of September to the first Wednesday in October to align with a count done for special education students.

The number of children in Michigan’s public schools has been falling since 2002, when 1.75 million students were recorded in the fall. Last year’s fall count was 1.6 million.

In Grand Haven, Konarska anticipates similar numbers to last year’s count day.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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