MPS funding: Friday attendance key for public schools

Funding for Wisconsin's public schools will be determined based on attendance Friday, Sept. 16.

Some Milwaukee public schools have signs encouraging families to make sure students are in school that day; the attendance numbers will determine the amount of funding the district gets from the state. However, there is concern over making sure virtual learning students count, too.

It is coined "Third Friday Count" – as Wisconsin school districts encourage all students to be present on the third day of September.

"Obviously we want all of our students to be in school every day, but if they come in tomorrow, the state will officially recognize them for enrollment purposes, and that determines the funding to support that particular child," said Calvin Fermin, MPS deputy superintendent.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) counts all students enrolled in schools across the state Friday. For MPS, it could impact crucial funding.

"Used for schools, used to hire teachers, it’s our primary revenue source," Fermin said.

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This year is a little different. If engaged virtually, students still count toward enrollment. The biggest concern is making sure students who have yet to return in person take advantage of those virtual options to get counted.

"If you’re apprehensive about coming to school, we can work with you," said Fermin. "We know some families don’t want to return in person, we have options available for you."

Students at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS)

Fermin said for many MPS students and staff, the first month of school back in person has been exciting. The district hopes to continue the excitement in the classroom Friday.

"Tomorrow is a special day, but we want students there every day to continue that learning," Fermin said.

MPS said a fun incentive for students to be at school is the return of one of the most popular lunches – mock chicken leg. It will be back on the menu starting Friday.

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