DETROIT (WXYZ) - WEDNESDAY, October second could be considered the most important day of the year for Michigan students. It's Count Day and there is a push statewide to make sure students are present and accounted for.
The concept behind count day is simple. Michigan's school districts receive revenue based on how many students are enrolled. Getting an accurate count is imperative. But Detroit Public Schools have more of a reason to make sure students are in class. The district has been loosing students in mass because of the city's dwindling numbers, but also because parents and students have other options.
"We have competition. I think we may have gained in market share", said DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin.
Whether that increase in market share translates into an increase in enrollment remains to be seen. Count day is the best way to get an accurate count.
It occurs twice a year statewide and today's count day accounts for 90 percent of state funding districts will receives this year. So it's imperative that students are present and accounted for, and today there is added incentive to be in school.
"We have a dance for our middle school kids. We have an ice cream social for all of our students", said Cindy Lang, principal of Ralph J Bunche Predatory Academy.
Also happening today at Bunche Academy; no uniforms. But it get's better. One lucky DPS student will receive an Xbox. Ipads, bikes and gift certificates will be given out as well. Nearly one in four students will receive something.
There's even a special menu today; barbecue chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, seasoned green beans, cornbread muffins and peach cobbler.
"We're trying to get more parents involved in Bunche Academy so they're here not just today, but everyday. "
But what about the other days when there's no chance of winning a bike just for coming to school? And what about the dwindling enrollment in DPS?
To make the district more appealing to parents and students who've chosen leave, there's an added emphasis on technology and the arts.
The goal is not just to increase the number of Detroit students in class on Count Day, but all year long; year after year.
To that end, Ms. Lang proudly states, "This is not the old DPS."
Emergency Manager Jack Martin was brought in to personally see to that.