Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Count Day, Round Two

As soon as I heard that today was supposed to be Count Day, I knew that all of the county schools would close. How could they risk kids not making it into school because of snow when the stakes are so high?

So: Thinking out loud here...There are a lot of problems with being so reliant on per-pupil funding, but it seems that a few modifications in the weighting of count day could make a difference for schools, particularly as far as planning goes. For instance, what if the per-pupil funding was an average of the last three years' counts.

So, if a district had 1000 students in year 1, 950 students in year 2, they would be able to do the math and whether their per-pupil count in year 3 was 900 students or 1000 students, it wouldn't make that much difference. Even though some districts might lose slightly if their numbers went up, the majority of districts in the state are losing kids every year. And stability leads to better planning. I certainly see a lot of panic and poor planning on the part of school districts in the county, but I'm not primarily blaming them--school starts in September, and in January (the January after the September, not before the September) they get a final per-pupil funding number. How can districts plan that way?

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