Board Says Yes Wii Can

Published 4:03 pm Thursday, March 17, 2011

PRINCE EDWARD – Going to school may have benefits beyond the obvious.

Yes, students in classrooms learn, which, in turn, can vastly improve their opportunities in life, but they might also be eligible to win a prize.

County supervisors met with school board members Tuesday evening to discuss school funding matters and, on a voice vote, agreed to chip in $1,600 to encourage students to attend school March 31.

The funds, which are to be used by the school system as school officials see fit, were penciled in from the County's recreation funds. That incentive, as discussed, would include an opportunity to participate in a drawing for an X-Box or a Wii. One gaming system is expected to be available at each of the four schools-elementary, middle, high and career tech center. Students meeting attendance guidelines at each of the respective schools would be eligible for the drawing.

The concept, which has been discussed in the past, was raised at the joint meeting by County Administrator Wade Bartlett. School officials had reservations about chipping in the funding themselves, but did not object to the County funding the incentive (although the possibility of an individual donating a game system for the incentive were also discussed).

Some Discussion

The two boards discussed the issue at length near the end of their joint session with a focus on the March 31 date. The thought expressed by some in taking the action to encourage attendance on March 31 was that each student present in school on that date translates into about $5,500 in state funding for the school.

While the Average Daily Membership (ADM) figure reported to the school does translate into $5,500 per student in state funding, it is not linked to a single day of attendance. School Finance Director Cindy Wahrman later clarified that the ADM spans the school year and is not limited to the attendance of a single day, but rather calculated from the first day of school through March 31.

According to school officials, the ADM is figured by taking the aggregate days of membership divided by the number of days taught-or the first day of school through March 31.

So it's an average attendance figure, rather than the number of students present on the period ending date.

School officials Thursday cited that the appropriation from the board will be used to improve student attendance during the week of March 28-31 and that the increased attendance will make a difference in the final ADM reported for the school division for those days.

School officials are moving forward with fleshing out implementation of the attendance incentive.