Counting students for funds

Although Wednesday’s Count Day creates only about 10 percent of per-pupil funding, local schools use that money for operational costs such as salaries, programs, supplies and services.
Krystle Wagner
Feb 13, 2014

In the fall, schools throughout Michigan count their students for 90 percent of per-
pupil funding. Schools have an additional 30 days to count absent students into their total for funding.

Overall, state funding is a large part of public and charter school budgets.

Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton said per-pupil funding “covers the vast majority” of the budget. The district, which receives about $7,026 per pupil, experienced a decrease in seven students since the fall. Currently, there are 2,504 students enrolled in Spring Lake schools, according to Wednesday's count.

Furton said they’ve had more residential families move out of the district for various reasons, and they are working to maintain class sizes instead of adding more students.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools also experienced a slight student enrollment decrease since the fall. Wednesday’s preliminary count is 6,168, but that's a 70-student increase from a year ago. Keith Konarska, the district’s superintendent, attributed the fluctuation to seasonal students leaving in the spring.

The Grand Haven district receives about $7,290 per student in state funding.

Overall, Fruitport Community Schools’ $7,076 per-pupil funding creates slightly more than $20 million, or about 72 percent of the district’s more than $28 million general budget. Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said the funding pays to operate the district, but the amounts are lower than several years ago, which causes the district to make cuts.

“We’re reducing our fund balance to maintain as much as possible,” he said.

The preliminary numbers from Wednesday's counts in Fruitport and at the West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics in Ferrysburg were not yet available.

Walden Green Montessori School Director Mark Neidlinger said their current enrollment is 12 less than a projected 200 students for this school year.

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

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