Summit’s public schools encourage attendance on Oct. 1 count day | SummitDaily.com

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Summit’s public schools encourage attendance on Oct. 1 count day

This Wednesday, empty desks could mean fewer dollars for Summit schools.

Each year, the state's funding of its public school districts is tied to the number of students who show up to school on Oct. 1, or "count day."

Summit's teachers will note attendance like they do every day, and that tally will go to the person at each school who keeps the registrar. The work doesn't end there.

Lots of fact-checking follows the Oct. 1 count to make sure kids are in the right schools and classes.

If some students aren't in school on Oct. 1, school districts don't automatically lose money — the state has more nuanced counting methods — but it requires a lot more work after the fact to gather the evidence, complete the paperwork and prove those students are enrolled and attending.

"It's just simpler when they're there at school," Heidi Pace, Summit School District superintendent, said.

Ahead of the count day, the district made September Attendance Awareness Month and sent communications to families about getting their kids to school on time.

The state determines how much each district receives per student based on a complex formula that takes into account district size and cost of living, among other factors.

Last year, Summit received $6,914.50 for each student; this year that number will be $7,315.

The district expects last year's student population of 3,287 to grow by 1.2 percent this year.

The district won't be funded that $7,315 for every student enrolled and attending, however; some students don't attend full time, like kindergarteners, and for funding purposes they are counted as half-students.

Districts also get more money for students who are eligible for reduced lunches or who are learning English as their second language.

The Colorado Department of Education typically doesn't finalize school counts until months after Oct. 1.