The Payette School District is considering an unusual way to boost student attendance. Middle school principal Rick Hale has proposed a quarterly reward worth about $20 for perfect attendance. Students could choose between free admission to dances or sporting events, transportation to away games for athletes, or movie passes. He says overall, school attendance is pretty good. He just wants to get more students in class, more often.
“On those days when maybe it’s a matter of 'gosh I don’t really feel like going to school,' but maybe he’s not really that sick, maybe an incentive is enough to convince him to actually make it here," says Hale.
He adds student performance can suffer from even a few absences. The school also benefits from more kids in the classroom. Attendance is part of the formula the state uses for handing out money. Hale estimates the money the district would spend on the rewards would be about equal to increased state funds. The school board should decide before the end of the summer if Payette middle schools can start the rewards program. If it gives the okay, then it will consider expanding it to high school.