December 2, 2023


education gives you strength

Colorado changes October count to preserve school-district funding

Emily Love helps her 7-year-old son Foster, a first grader at Pioneer Elementary School in Lafayette, with his work on March 31, 2020, the first day all students in the Boulder Valley School District migrated to online learning during the coronavirus shut down. His older brother, Miles, 12, is working in a Google chat room on a physical science problem with one of his 6th grade classmates from Manhattan Middle School in Boulder. (Photo: Dana Coffield, The Colorado Sun)

How do you count the number of students in your school or district when they’re not physically in your classrooms?

It’s a tricky question for Colorado school districts to answer, but it’s an important one: A district’s student count is the primary factor in determining how much state funding they receive.

The Colorado Department of Education conducts an October pupil count each fall to establish how many students are attending classes in each of the state’s 178 school districts. In a typical school year, it is largely a matter of counting. This year, as the coronavirus has kept many districts conducting fall classes remotely, it will be more a matter of converting and then counting.

CDE has revised the process districts follow for its annual October count with more flexibility for those starting the school year remotely or using a hybrid approach. While some districts have expressed concerns about declining enrollment translating to a dip in their funding, CDE will help soften the blow by using an averaging provision that takes into account a district’s enrollment for recent years.

This story is being published partially at and in full in Coloradoan print editions through an agreement with the Colorado Sun. Read the full story online at

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