Count day a ‘critical marker’ for Jefferson County schools

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- Wednesday is count day in which every school district in Colorado keeps tabs on how many students show up to class, and the attendance affects school funding.

There are no walkouts planned Wednesday, but even if students skip class to protest, it won't affect how much money the Jefferson County Public Schools receives.

After nearly two weeks of student and teacher protests against the Jefferson County School Board, there is concern additional absences would affect the district's funding.

For every student counted, Jefferson County will receive more than $7,000. The Education Department says there is a 10-day window it looks at to determine funding.

"It's much easier if the kids are there and in attendance on Oct. 1 because the burden of proof to be eligible for funding is much simpler that way," Education Department Finance Commissioner Leanne Emm said. "If they're not there during that window, the window expands. So there are various opportunities to demonstrate attendance."

Superintendent Dan McMinimee promises to come down on teachers and students who intentionally disrupt school and that that will be put to the test Wednesday.

On Monday, classes at Jefferson and Golden high schools were canceled after numerous teachers called in sick. Schools including Chatfield High emailed letters to parents, students and teachers to encourage them to attend school Wednesday, calling it a "critical marker."